Growing up in Guatemala, my parents had a ranch where they grew tropical commodities, including avocados. Being exposed to the fruit my entire life, I’ve known about their many health benefits and versatility in everyday cuisine. It’s no wonder this superfood has grown in global popularity, but here are 15 things you might not have known.
Avocado Health Benefits
- While many people know that avocados contain naturally good fats, few know that they contribute nearly 20 vitamins and minerals including folic acid, potassium, and 8% of your daily value of fiber.
All About the Avocado Tree
- The Hass tree was created by grafting the Patron avocado plant (the branches) with the Criollo avocado plant (the roots).
- An avocado tree will start bearing fruit in the third or fourth year after it has been planted, depending on its geography.
- An avocado tree can bloom up to four times a year in Mexico.
- Avocados, when ready for harvest, can stay on the tree for up to four months depending on temperature and elevation before falling off.
- The Hass tree produces a fruit that is rich in flavor and covered by a skin that is semi-hard, which allows it to be more resistant to weather conditions and reduces bruising.
Avocado Fruit Facts
- Avocados are a fruit which are grown on a tree and can be picked between 7 and 8 months after floration.
- Avocados don’t ripen until they have been picked or have fallen off the tree.
- Avocados produce natural ethylene gas, which triggers the ripening process. The higher the oil content, the more ethylene is produced, causing the fruit to ripen faster. On the other hand, the more oil an avocado has, the richer the flavor.
- While there is great debate whether you can eat the seed or not, food processors use the oils from the seed in things such as shampoo.
Avocado Supply Chain By the Numbers
- In 2004, Mexico shipped 76 million pounds of Hass avocados to the United States, or 11% of the total Hass production. In 2015, shipments jumped to 1.78 billion pounds, or 81% of the total Hass production.
- Avocados have become a global fruit, with consumption in Asia jumping 127 fold from 2011 to 2014. Demand in Europe has grown by almost 20% in the last year.
- An avocado prohibition existed from 1914 to 1993, when Mexico was not allowed to import the fruit into the United States. Imports were first allowed into Alaska in 1993 and restrictions to all 50 states were removed in 2007.
Avocado Consumer Insights
- According to a Robinson Fresh tropical produce consumer insights panel, 49% of avocados are eaten between 5 and 8 p.m.
- More than 95% are consumed by Americans and come from Hass trees.
- Avocados are one of the fastest growing retail commodities. According to IRI Freshlook, they generate 48% of the tropical category sales. Awareness, knowledge, and exposure to avocados has helped the tropical category expand, with avocados responsible for 80% year-over-year growth in the category.
Can’t get enough of avocados? Learn more about the amazing fruit in these blog posts:
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