Unleashing the Market Potential for Green Skin Avocados

June 18, 2019


Photo: bunch of avocados
Photo: Tanjila Ahmed

The world market for avocados is pretty much divided between Hass and green skin avocados. The market in the US for green skin avocados is only 3% of the market for Hass. With effective and aggressive investment in marketing, the per capita consumption of Hass avocados in the US is expected double between 2014 and 2021. Hass avocados are different from green skin avocados in that they are smaller, turn dark when they are ripe, and have a higher fat and oil content. Green skin avocados are simply not available in US supermarkets outside of the East coast. The USDA funded Export Quality program in the Dominican Republic (which is the #1 supplier of green skin avocados to the US market) decided to undertake consumer focus group tastings of green skin avocados with avocado enthusiasts in Houston, Texas and San Diego, California. Participants had a "wow!" and "whoa!" reactions. They loved the color and texture of the avocados and didn't care so much about the difference in taste which we thought would be a major constraint. They loved the fact the green skin avocados didn't turn brown when sliced or made into guacamole and would stay green in the refrigerator for 3 days. They were concerned about the size and thought they were genetically modified and unnatural. They also were used to determining ripeness by the change of color with Hass avocados which is not the case with green skin. They didn't like the term green skin which they felt is reptilian and suggested changing the name to Tropical Avocado.

Getting Hass avocado consumers to complement their culinary habitats occasionally with a tropical avocado could be a huge boon. There are also large immigrant communities in the US from West Africa, the Caribbean, Central/South America, and the Philippines that were used to consuming Tropical Avocados in their native countries. The challenge is to get these avocados into the stores where they shop.

Our program is seeking an alliance with South Florida green skin avocado producers and importer/marketers to open new markets such as Houston, Texas.  Other countries in the Caribbean and even African countries such as Kenya could benefit from an expanded market for Tropical Avocados.