Avocado bags gain, but bulk remains on top

THE PACKER | by Vicky Boyd

The sales are in the bag, whether the avocados are from Chile or another country.

Importers said they’ve seen continued retail growth in packaging multiple pieces of fruit together, although they said consumers still favor bulk offerings where they can pick out individual pieces.

“The mesh bag has been a growing thing, but I think it’s more because you see more of it at higher-end retailers,” said Allan Sanchez, hass category manager for J&C Tropicals, Miami.

“It’s just easier for the consumer to grab it. Will it ultimately replace the loose pack? I don’t think so.”

He said most retailers like to have bulk displays where shoppers can choose the exact ripeness that fits their use.

“They like to go to the store, grab an avocado, put it in their hand and feel it and look at it,” Sanchez said of consumers.

He said he sees bags as more of a niche item, citing a higher-end retailer that likes them because the mesh containers create a more upscale image.

Other retailers may position the bags outside of the produce department, such as in the chip aisle, because they are easy to hang on a display, Sanchez said.

Dana Thomas, president of Riverside, Calif.-based Index Fresh Inc., said his firm has seen demand for bagged product continue to grow.

“We see a tremendous amount of bagging, whether it’s custom packing for selected customers or under our own AvoBuddies or AvoTerra labels,” he said.

The size of the bag varies among customers, ranging from 1 to 2 pounds, to four-, five- and six-count.