Israel’s Avocado a Hit in Europe

Hass avocados in the Wadi Nisnas market, Haifa, Israel (source: PikiWiki - Israel free image collection project)

Israeli avocados are making a splash in Europe: with health experts calling the avocado a “super food”, avocado consumption around the world has skyrocketed and Israeli farmers are positioned to strike gold with the continuing avocado fad.

According to Reyes Gutierrez, a fruit exporter from Spain, the European avocado market is sorely undersupplied and exporters are unable to keep up, causing prices for avocados to skyrocket due to the increasing demand. In Israel, avocado prices have been rising as well, costing 20 to 30 NIS a kilo, but Israeli growers are preferring to export their products abroad where they can sell them for even higher prices.

Israeli avocados are mainly of the Hass variety which is most popular in Europe. According to Ynet, Israeli avocado exports make up 30% of the European winter market, Israel being one of the only countries that continues to export avocados in the winter. Already in 2016, Israel has exported 100,000 tons of avocados.

France, Germany, the UK and Spain are the largest consumer markets for fresh avocados in Europe. According to Giora Marom, avocado manager for Granot, Israel avocado growers have had a really good year “in terms of harvest and price.” In an interview with ynet news, Marom said that:

There are 80 million people in Germany, and there has been a 20% increase in avocado demand every year. Another reason that the Israeli avocado is being sold at such a great price abroad is that we only export through two companies. Other produce, such as peppers, are exported by many different exporters. They are in constant competition with each other which drives the prices down.  

According to Eitan Zvi, avocado grower with the Galilee Export cooperative:

Demand for avocados in U.K. supermarkets has increased by 30 percent every year for the last four years. One chain reported sales growth of 50 percent from one year to the next.

Increasing demand for the avocado in European markets has resulted in the planting of more avocado orchards in Israel, with one company alone planting an additional 5,000 dunams of trees. Israeli farmers are known worldwide for their agricultural innovations which have helped them turn vast swaths of swampland and desert into vital, productive agricultural enterprises.

In November 2015, the European Union voted to impose new labeling rules to mark Israeli products which were produced in the West Bank and the Golan Heights, a move which had many worried that Israeli agriculture would suffer the most with European shoppers turning away from Israeli produce bearing politically unpopular labels. However, it seems Europe’s labeling move—which many deemed discriminatory by unfairly singling out Israel—has not adversely affected Israel’s produce exports to the EU. On the contrary, Israel produce, especially avocados and dates, continue to fly off the shelves in Europe.