Hass is the most demanded avocado variety in Europe, especially in Scandinavia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The Hass variety is very suitable for ripening. Green skin avocados still have their own niche, but are going down in demand. Italy and countries in Eastern Europe still have large market shares for green skin avocados. They are still consumed in many countries is because of their low price and colour, but they do not have necessarily less flavour than Hass. Pinkerton avocados, also known as pseudo Hass, have a specifically timed demand because it is a late variety.
Avocados have become a typical product in retail programmes. As a result, buyers almost always require a set of certifications to demonstrate good practices and food safety. Common certifications include GlobalG.A.P. for agricultural production and BRCGS, IFS or similar HACCP-based food safety management systems for packing houses. These management systems are recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).
Sustainability and social compliance
Due to concerns about excessive water use in avocado cultivation in arid production areas of Peru, Chile and South Africa, in addition to social issues and deforestation, for example, in Mexico, it has become common for buyers to ask for assurances of good practices. The best way to do this is through adopting social and environmental standards, such as Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) and GlobalG.A.P..
Major avocado buyers have environmental and ethical policies in place. Greencell ltd., part of the Westfalia group and the leading avocado company in the United Kingdom, has its suppliers audited at grower level with standards such as SMETA, Fair for Life, Rainforest Alliance, and GRASP. The company uses for example the SEDEX RADAR Tool which contains risk data on different topics such as forced labour, water risk and biodiversity, and the Sedex Forced Labour Indicators tool to understand where potential indicators of forced labour have been identified within the supply chain.
In the near future you can expect new environmental and social initiatives with standards that become more extensive with regular audits. For example, the Sustainable Trade Initiative for Fruit and Vegetables (SIFAV), a private covenant between European importers and retailers, has formulated new goals towards 2025 that include reducing the carbon footprint and increasing sustainable water use. One of the SIFAV members is Nature’s Pride, a big player in the avocado trade. With this in mind, it is sensible to measure your environmental impact and explore new standards such as SPRING, a GlobalG.A.P. add-on for sustainable irrigation and groundwater use, or the Corporate Carbon Footprint of TÜVRheinland.
Retail chains sometimes have their own standards, such as Tesco and the Tesco Nurture programme, an add-on module to GlobalG.A.P..