Now That’s a Lotta Guacamole

open faced avocadosExpert shipping solutions and cold storage make Prime Fresh Handling the right choice for the international transport of avocados

With millions of pounds of avocados harvested annually for export from Peru, California, Chile, and Mexico, as well as emerging export production within Colombia and the Dominican Republic, Prime Fresh Handling (PFH) is trusted worldwide to provide international logistics solutions to restaurants, cruise ships, and wholesalers. We specialize in getting these precious perishables to market quickly, carefully, and in as good shape as the moment they were picked.

Helping us assist clients with that mission at our multiple strategically located handling facilities including LAX, JFK, and MIA. Our robust network of U.S.-based cold storage warehouses are specifically designed to handle temperature-sensitive fresh products while in transit. Most importantly, PFH also has skilled and friendly employees that its customers can count on for handling and shipping their avocados to anywhere across the U.S. or worldwide – while maintaining the ever-important cold food chain.

Green Light to Call

So even as your avocados are still growing on the branch, it’s your green light to contact PFH to start making your export and transportation plans.

To prepare avocados for their long journey, low-temperature storage is essential at every point along the cold supply chain. First, they are cooled to 40-50°F in cooling chambers before being loaded onto refrigerated trucks to U.S. transit stations and for their final destination. This will seal in the freshness and prevent the avocados from fully ripening and possibly going bad. “Chilling injury” is also a concern if the temperature is too low. PFH has a long history of monitoring and maintaining the exact conditions required for avocado transport, as well as for the vast array of other perishable products we handle for customers all around the world.

The ultimate avocado – also called “alligator pears” for their outward appearance – weighs in at about five to 12 ounces apiece and has a thick-pebbled skin that turns from green to dark purple-black when fully ripe (except for tropical avocados which remain green). Inside, these tasty oval fruits feature creamy and pale green flesh. Consumers often describe its taste and consistency as creamy, smooth, and nutty. Hass is the most prolific variety of avocados, among others, are Fuerte and Bacon.

Avocado Trends

Clearly, avocados are a growth industry. Annual shopper studies funded by the Hass Avocado Board (HAB), an online resource for avocado industry data and research, identify data-based insights and retail growth opportunities based on avocado shoppers’ actual purchase trends. For example, results were announced in October 2021 for HAB’s latest “Bagged and Bulk Avocado Shopper Trends” study.

Presto, drum roll please… This study showed that purchases of bagged avocados have increased at three times the rate of bulk avocado buys over a four-year period (2016-2019). Shoppers continue to add bags of avocados to their grocery basket, and those now represent more than a quarter of all avocado purchases.

As the end-of-year holidays are fast approaching consider this: Earlier this year, HAB reported that holiday avocado sales during the 2020 fall and winter holidays grew sizably. In fact, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all reached record-high volumes and drove a combined 187 million units in retail sales. Retailers may find this information useful for planning promotions for the year ahead, so for all the Hass data and research tidbits, visit www.hassavacadoboard.com.

High Avocado Production

So, where’s the top spot for growing avocados? Well, it depends on the country of origin? Mexico is the world’s top avocado exporter with three-quarters of those exports bound for the U.S., although it’s also the first country to gain market access to export its avocados to China.

Eyeballing our PFH volume statistics, we agree that Mexico is the top banana. With year-round production, its peak avocado harvest season ranges between October and February; a more limited supply is available from March through May, with exports winding down from June through September. Chile is also a powerhouse for us with that country’s season running from September until February.

Shipping nearly one $1 billion in avocado exports globally through mid-year 2021, a nearly 47 percent increase year-over-year, Peru’s production also winds down in September. Keep an eye on this, though, as producers are planting more hectares and creating new locales for production with the goal to stretch the season into October. California typically will finish in September or October too. Colombia is also a top Hass avocado producer and Jamaica and Florida are among other producing markets.

Here’s an Interesting Factoid:

It’s worth pointing out that while Mexico is the exporter powerhouse, it’s not the top producer globally. That ranking actually goes the Dominican Republic – but because that country’s residents love avocados so much and each eats 105 pounds of the fruit annually, they are consuming most of the domestic output internally – thus leaving far less for export. But the DR is now beginning to emerge as a “Tropical Avocado” exporter.

While avocado volumes of all types keep rising, so do the prices – common for many products in this pandemic era. Agtools, Inc. reports per carton avocado prices for size 48s have risen from as low as $20 earlier in the year to $70 by October 2021. 

The Perishables Experts

Call us to chat if you have any needs for avocado shipping and handling. That said, PFH is also adept at quickly and safely handling and shipping blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries from Chile, Mexico, and local U.S. farms in the off-season. You might also be surprised at what our perishable shipping company can ship and handle. Any guesses?

PFH is also the expert at handling:

  • Subtropical exotic fruits such as dragon fruit from Ecuador – we’ve handled nearly 500,000 kg thus far this year alone;
  • We also transport limes and lemons from Mexico;
  • Fresh aromatic herbs are grown in Northern California; and
  • Yummy fresh cherries domestically – typically available only during a tight, three-week season each December.

Still, every day PFH celebrates avocados as they’re a standout product in our cornucopia of perishable shipping services. We take great pride in our ability to get our customers their avocados on time and in excellent condition.

Global Perishable Shipping Services 

Whether it’s a box, a pallet, or a companywide logistics operation, PFH is highly skilled in achieving safe on-time delivery of temperature-sensitive material and products between any point of origin and destination around the globe.

In fact, PFH is also known as a global leader in perishables transportation of fresh produce, fish, cut flowers, and plants. With state-of-the-art facilities in Europe, South American, and across North America, PFH leverages industry-leading technologies such as vacuum cooling, sorting, re-packing, barcoding, labeling, and temperature monitoring to guarantee a consistent, safe, and fresh delivery.

Contact Information

For information, contact PFH General Manager-West Coast Cristina Moscoso at 323-328-8650, via email at cristina.moscoso@primeair.aero, or explore our website to learn more about our perishable shipping solutions

Additional Readings:

The Wonderful World of Blueberries 

Prime Fresh Handling Celebrates Global Produce Shipping Capabilities 

Challenges in Seafood Logistics: The Back Story 

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Prime Fresh Handling clients depend on our international network of coordinated cargo and freight service specialists to operate shipping routes across the globe. Our experienced customer service representatives are available 24/7 to answer your calls and address any perishable shipping and logistics questions you may have promptly and courteously. We are here for you!