Index Fresh's Debbie Willmann Shares California Avocado Season Update

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Wed. April 10th, 2024 - by Peggy Packer

CORONA, CA - What’s going on in the wonderful world of California avocados? Seeking to dive into the details of the category ahead of the upcoming Viva Fresh Expo, I recently gained some exclusive insights from Index Fresh’s Vice President of Sales Debbie Willmann.

Debbie Willmann, Vice President of Sales, Index Fresh

“California avocado season was initially off to a slow start, but over the last three weeks, we have increased harvesting significantly,” shares Debbie. “Volume is increasing by about a million pounds a week. I expect that to level off a little bit over the next couple of weeks because growers are picking based on size right now. Overall, the summer is shaping up to be quite dynamic!”

Production is expected to peak in June and July; however, fruit will still be harvested in August, with the season rounding out in mid-to-late September.

As Debbie shared with me, the total California avocado crop is forecasted at about 206 to 208 million pounds. Size-wise, Index Fresh is peaking heavily on 48s, followed closely by 40s and an almost equal amount of 60s.

California avocado season was initially off to a slow start, but over the last three weeks, Index Fresh has increased harvesting significantly

“Ideally, retailers should remain nimble or flexible in the sizes they’re offering,” Debbie advises. “This way, they can take advantage of varying market conditions and supply scenarios as the season progresses. I also recommend that our retail partners diversify their offerings by adding a bagged option. Value-added bags are trending positively with consumers and complement bulk programs.”

Another way retailers can diversify their category offerings is with the unique GEM variety. Index Fresh is offering the variety for its eighth season, giving consumers the chance to enjoy its striking appearance and exceptional, nutty flavor. Available for programs April through May, the coveted offering is supported by in-store display posters, educational material, and other signage.

As Index Fresh reported, avocado production is expected to peak in June and July; however, fruit will still be harvested in August

Backed by its diverse portfolio, Index Fresh has made strategic developments to bolster its standing as a premium avocado supplier. The company recently installed new ripening rooms in Pharr, Texas, expanding from three to 10 rooms. This has dramatically strengthened the supplier’s ability to bring on new retail and foodservice customers and support their ripening programs.

Another key advancement is the introduction of its new cellulose value-added bags, offering an increased level of sustainability to its partners. Index Fresh’s latest offering is a plastic-free, recyclable, and home-compostable mesh bag, available in both conventional and organic SKUs. The cellulose product line utilizes direct print UPCs, further reducing waste by eliminating labels from the supply chain.

As Index Fresh noted, value-added options like its value-added bag program, continue to trend high with consumers

“We have built a strong positive reputation in the industry because when times are difficult, we stand by our customers and our contracts,” Debbie adds. “We believe in partnerships, which at Index means we have real conversations and try our best not to be emotionally reactive when the market gets super dynamic. We focus on the customer first and think long-term about growing both our relationships and businesses.”

Index Fresh will be showcasing its formidable portfolio during this year’s Viva Fresh Expo, at booth #117. Stick around for more insights from ANUK.