Avocado demand is up across the board, but tropical — or green skin — avocados have shelf life challenges that can be a barrier for expansion in some markets.
Miami-based WP Produce has worked through those challenges to introduce a new ventilated carton design that increases shelf life by up to 100%.
“Shelf life has always been an issue for produce in general, and tropical avocados are no exception,” said Chris Gonzalez, Vice President of Sales. “Using ethylene-filtering technology, and our new box designs, which increase air circulation and ventilation — especially during transport — we are able to add an additional 4-5 days.”
Gonzalez said the company spent years of trial and effort on the new box to find the right solution for air flow and reducing the amount of ethylene surrounding the fruit.
“Tropical” avocados, which WP Produce markets under the Desbry brand, are 2-3 times larger than the typical hass avocado seen in most U.S. grocers.
“Because of the overall popularity of avocados, tropical avocados are starting to see an increase in demand because they are able to satisfy avocado consumers in a unique, new way,” said Desiree Morales, Vice President.
They have a firm texture ideal for salads, sandwiches and toast, she says, but many are unfamiliar with the variety. The company has challenged itself to educate buyers, to increase availability.
“We know once customers try tropical avocados at the peak of ripeness, they will like it and want to repeat the taste,” she said. “A lot of times, we find that consumers don’t know when the avocado is ripe.”
Unlike hass, tropical avocados typically stay green, but develop a softer texture.
WP Produce plans to display the new packaging at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure Expo on March 9, along with a new offering — manzanos (apple bananas) from Colombia — at Booth #508.