Out of every 100 avocados on a tree, only 50 end up in the supermarket. How is this possible? Luc (24) and Max (25) went to Spain and Peru to research this and to improve the quality of the production process.
“Avocados are one of the hardest foodstuffs to deliver,” Luc states. “We only want ‘ripe and ready’ avocados in our supermarkets, but avocados already ripen the moment they are picked. It differs per tree, plantation and even per individual avocado how fast this process happens, but it’s the reason most avocados don’t make it to the supermarket shelves.” Then there’s the transport risk. “Many avocados turn mouldy during transport,” Max says. “It’s a rough estimate, but because of these problems, half of every harvest may be lost.”
It’s also the reason avocados are so expensive in the Netherlands. “In Peru, they retail for €0.10 per kilo, while over here we pay € 1 per avocado,” Luc says. An exclamation like ‘holy guacamole’ seems in order here. The duo visited stakeholders in Spain and Peru to discuss the problem and to look for solutions together. “At the moment, we are studying the quality of avocados and their peel to see how we can influence the ripening process to combat waste,” explains Max. “We’re also surveying the entire journey of the avocado, from plantation to supermarket, to see where things go wrong.”
“Combatting avocado waste not only benefits the price of avocados but also the environment,” says Luc. “Less waste means it takes less land to grow avocados and less transport to ship similar quantities.” Max: “It’s necessary, because avocados are becoming increasingly popular. In the Netherlands, the import value of avocados has quadrupled in eight years’ time. In China, the annual growth is even 100 per cent!” “Percentages that make other fruit look avocado green with envy,” Max jokes. One thing is certain: studying the world of avocados is definitely no waste of time.