Subtropical fruit continues upward trend in demand amid insatiable appetite

Global growth in demand for avocado and mangoes has been consistently increasing, rising 10% per annum in some instances. However continuous promotion and consumer education campaigns are essential to ensure the exponential growth of the crop has a stable, profitable market going forward.

Speakers at this year’s annual Subtrop Marketing Symposium held in White River, Mpumalanga, said that although market growth has been high, there is still further room for expansion provided promotions are correctly aimed at consumers.

Greg Vicherat, European Business Development Manager at Halls, noted that in 2018 globally traded avocados reached 1,9 million tons, up 11% from the previous year. “The European Union (EU) broke through the 1kg per annum per capita consumption and the United States (US) avocado breakfast market alone reached $65 billion. At this rate we would need an additional 190 000 tons of avocados per year to meet demand world-wide.”

He said that while consumption per capita in China is still low, it had the potential to become the largest avocado market in the world if promotional activities were geared up.

With the bumper crop that was experienced globally in 2018, prices were consequently suppressed, but Zac Bard, chairman of the World Avocado Organisation (WAO), noted that the current campaigns aimed at increasing avocado consumption, resulted in good returns to growers.  “The priority for 2019 will be to ensure there are no bottle necks in future that would impact prices if we should be in an over-supply situation again.” WAO planned on the first promotions in the Chinese market, which would grow demand in this young market.

Trevor Dukes, South Africa’s representative of the WAO, added that future campaigns included a focus on the younger generation to grow the market base from a young age.

A marketing campaign conducted locally, tested avocado’s suitability and likeability when paired with South Africa’s most popular street food – magwinya or vetkoek. While there was an overwhelmingly favourable response to avocado magwinya, what was interesting was that 20% of the buyers were children of school going age. “We have an opportunity to instil new eating habits and develop a love for avocados from a young age, which offers great potential to grow this market in the future,” said Ruth Behr, owner of Promofresh.

Glynnis Branthwaite, from Protactic Strategic Communications noted that it was important to understand the purchasing habits of consumers, to accurately aim marketing campaigns to increase avocado consumption. “We need to change the consumers’ mindset from wanting an avocado to needing an avocado. There is also still much needed education on dark versus green skin fruit as consumers still perceive dark skin-types as overripe.”

In a survey to determine dietitians’ perceptions and likelihood of recommending inclusion of avocados in a healthy diet, it was found that over 97% would recommend it to their patients. Monique Piderit, registered dietitian from Nutritional Solutions noted that those that are not recommending avocados were deterred by the often high prices.

The biggest reasons dietitians were recommending avocados was for management of cardiovascular disease, weight loss and type 2 diabetes.

Focusing on market access, Derek Donkin, CEO of Subtrop, said that gaining and maintaining market access for South Africa’s litchis, mangoes and avocados was one of the biggest focus areas going forward. “This includes cultivar development to ensure we have the right varieties for specific markets, adhering to phytosanitary requirements and maximum residue levels (MRL’s) in our export markets. The latter two are especially becoming more stringent and non-compliance could cost us existing markets.”

He noted that gaining access to new markets was a notoriously slow process, taking on average 15 years. “We are expecting some progress on the US and Chinese markets next year to enable avocado and mango exports to those countries. These are currently the two countries that hold the biggest potential for our produce.”

While export markets were needed in peak season for mangoes when there was an oversupply in the market, Pieter Buys, SA Mango Growers’ Association chairman, noted that the local industry was for the most part more profitable than export markets. “International prices are not necessarily more lucrative especially when you consider the cost to export and market the product in those countries. In India the price can be as little as $0,60/kg and in China $1/kg.”

Buys is positive about the outlook for mangoes and expects demand to grow globally, especially considering the versatility of mangoes. “Available land for planting more mangoes is however limited and since demand is expected to increase, prices will follow the same upward trend.”

With regards to emerging markets, Jurie Welman, President CHEP SSA & Automotive Europe, India, Middle East Africa (EIMEA), said that they held much potential for exports, but a lack of protocols in place for fresh produce made border crossings problematic. “There is also a greater need for packaging that could aid in keeping produce fresher for longer and limit bruising. Packaging that was more robust and could withstand long journeys was crucial.”

Delegates at the symposium were given an overview of the expected political and economic climate for 2019.

Standard Bank economist Shireen Darmalingam, predicted the exchange rate to end at R14,30/$1 this year and at R13,40/$1 in 2019. “The emerging market rout is likely to continue in the near term. Disputes between China and the US will keep going back and forth – which doesn’t bode well for local financial markets.”

David Ansara, a policy analyst from the Centre for Risk Analysis, said that uncertainty around property rights is contributing to lower investment and higher unemployment in the agricultural sector. “Job creation is a by-product of investment. Creating a more conducive policy environment for agriculture to succeed will lead to higher levels of employment and give farmers the confidence to invest,” he said.

Front row – L – R:  Ruth Behr owner of Promofresh; Glynnis Branthwaite, founder of Protactic Strategic Communications; Shireen Darmalingam, Standard Bank economist; Monique Piderit, registered dietitian from Nutritional Solutions
Back row – L – R:  David Ansara, a policy analyst from the Centre for Risk Analysis; Pieter Buys, South African Mango Growers’ Association chairman; Greg Vicherat of Halls; Derek Donkin CEO of Subtrop




The South African Avocado Growers’ Association’s (SAAGA) will be recognising two South African journalists who shine above the rest as Avocado Ambassadors. These journalists must be true advocates of the locally grown avocado and its merits. The nominated Avocado Ambassadors will be chosen according to their quality in content about avocados, visual appeal and the overall promotion of avocados.



Two Avocado Ambassadors will be awarded R30 000 cash each.


ENTRY PERIOD The entry period for the Avocado Ambassador 2018 is now open.

Any avocado features/snippets/recipes (in fact any publicity which promotes the avocado) published/broadcast during the time period March – November 2018 may be submitted.

All entries must be received by 16h00 Thursday 28th February 2019

Late or incomplete entries cannot be considered.

All entries will be acknowledged by e-mail.

The 2018 Avocado Ambassador is open to all food, health and beauty writers of South African newspapers, magazines, online and electronic media.



Email scanned pages of the avo feature in jpeg format – no larger than 2MB

Screen grabs of online/social media publicity with links

Electronic video/sound bytes via DropBox or We Transfer

All entries need to be emailed to



There is one category only – Avocado Ambassador

Two journalists will be selected by a judging panel comprising five members from SAAGA’s local market development committee

No runner up prizes will be awarded.



The Avocado Ambassador is awarded to the media person that uses the most avos, uses avos in the most creative way and uses the most visually appealing avo-related visuals.

The Avocado Ambassador will need to inform consumers in an inspiring and innovative manner about avos such as benefits (health/beauty/taste/versatility/convenience/history/trivia).

Submissions may include avo features/snippets/recipes.

Submissions may not include sponsored features or advertorials



All South African and Foreign National food/health journalists

Food/health journalists of print publications/broadcast/online/blogs

Bloggers must substantiate their following via a screen shot of blog insights



The following persons may not take part in this competition even if they qualify to enter. They will forfeit (give up) any prizes awarded to them:

  • SUBTROP or SAAGA employees/members i.e. director(s), member(s), partner(s), employee(s), and their respective promotional or advertising agency(s), or consultant(s) involved with this competition.
  • Any supplier of goods and services in connection with this competition.
  • The spouse, life partner, siblings, children, or parents of any of the persons named above.
  • Legal Entities



There is no entry fee.



Entrants will be judged on the above set criteria and by a panel of judges made up of members of SAAGA’s local market development committee.



  1. The competition is organised by the South African Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA)
  2. In the event of any dispute regarding the rules, conduct, results and all other matters relating to the competition, the decision of SAAGA and the judges shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.
  3. By entering the competition, you hereby warrant that all information submitted by you is true, current and complete. SAAGA reserves the right to verify the eligibility of all entrants.
  4. There is no limit on number of features/snippets/recipes submitted per entrant.
  5. Competition entries must be made in the manner and by the closing date and time specified on the notes to entrants. Failure to do so will disqualify the entry. (Please take note of “Submitting your work” section.)
  6. Name and contact details are to be supplied with entries.
  7. All entries will be checked against final print copies and online/electronic platforms to verify authenticity. If there are inconsistencies between the emailed entry and the print copy or online/electronic version, the entry will be discarded.
  8. Winners will be announced at the start of the 2019 avo season at the 2019 media event (date to be confirmed early 2019).
  9. To qualify to receive the prize you must have a valid and an operational South African bank account.
  10. Prizes are awarded at SAAGA’s discretion and no prizes will be awarded as a result of improper actions by or on behalf of any entrant. Where entries are being judged on creative or artistic merit or other subjective criteria, SAAGA and/or the competition judges (acting reasonably) reserve the right not to select a winner, and/or to remove or amend selection criteria and/or the structure and operation of the competition if entries are not of the requisite standard.
  11. Winners may be requested to take part in promotional activity and SAAGA reserves the right to use the names of winners, their photographs and audio and/or visual recordings of them in any publicity.


Contact Lauren Anceriz or Glynnis Branthwaite at Protactic on 011 882 9272 or email or if you have any queries or require any additional information.


SA’s 2017 Avo Ambassadors announced at the Add an Avo breakfast to launch new season

The first-ever Avo Ambassador competition – introduced last year by the South African Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA) – has been won by Amy Hopkins, food editor of Women’s Health and Sam Linsell, creator of

The awards were presented on Wednesday, 14 March 2018, at a media breakfast held to welcome in the 2018 local avocado season at Open Door restaurant situated on the Constantia Uitsig Estate. Johannesburg media weren’t left out and they enjoyed their avo inspired breakfast the previous day at Bolton Road Collection restaurant in Rosebank.

The Avo Ambassador competition aims to recognise South African food writers who have gone the extra mile to promote avocados and, as one of the judges commented, make people fall in love with avos all over again. SAAGA will be sending both Amy and Sam jetting off to Amsterdam for a long weekend, where they will get to explore Amsterdam and also enjoy a lunch at The Avocado Show – one of the world’s first avocado inspired restaurants.

“I’m honoured to be chosen as South Africa’s avocado ambassador – my partner calls me Queen Avocado, so it’s quite fitting!” said Hopkins. “I don’t eat dairy, so I am often looking for ways to get a creamy texture from alternative foods and avocados offer just that.”

Linsell added, “I am over the moon about winning the prize and cannot wait to experience a restaurant dedicated to the avocado. Apart from the amazing taste, I love avocados because they are so nutritious and their smooth texture allows for them to be used in anything from dressings to ice cream to topping a pizza.”

The judging panel included Derek Donkin, CEO of SAAGA; Hans Boyum, Westfalia; Zander Ernst, Allesbeste Boerdery; Alta van Eeden, The Fruit Farm Group South Africa and Clive Garrett, ZZ2. “The Avo Ambassador received 11 entries which included print, online and electronic food media. We are looking forward to receiving the entries for this year’s competition and we thank the media for their on-going support in raising the awareness for local avocados and the multitude of delicious ways they can be eaten,” said Donkin.



These rules apply to the “What Did Chef Dee Add an Avo to on” competition (hereinafter referred to as “the competition”). This competition is being run by: The South African Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA) on their Facebook page iloveavocadoSA. Please contact us on or 015- 306 6240 (weekdays during office hours 07h45 – 16h15) if you do not understand any part of these rules or if you have any questions about these rules or the mechanics of the competition.

By entering the competition, you confirm that you have read and agree to be legally bound to these rules.


The competition starts at 05h30 on Tuesday 27th June 2017 and will end at 09h00 on Wednesday 28th June 2017. This is the competition period. SAAGA reserves the right to extend the duration of the competition, subject to these terms and conditions.


All persons, including South African Citizens and Foreign Nationals over the age of 18 years may enter the competition. To qualify to receive the prize you must have a valid and an operational South African bank account. You must also have complied with all competition mechanics which are elaborated on in the “How to enter” section (point 4).


The following persons may not take part in this competition even if they qualify to enter. They will forfeit (give up) any prizes awarded to them:

  • SUBTROP or SAAGA employees i.e. director(s), member(s), partner(s), employee(s), and their respective promotional or advertising agency(s), or consultant(s) involved with this competition.
  • Any supplier of goods and services in connection with this competition.
  • The spouse, life partner, siblings, children, or parents of any of the persons named above.
  • Anyone who has won an iloveavos sponsored Facebook competition in the past 6 months.
  • Legal Entities

Post the answer to the question on the iloveavocadoSA Facebook page before 09h00 on Wednesday 28th June 2017.


Six entrants randomly selected by SAAGA stand a chance to win R500 cash each.


The R500 cash prize will be paid into each winner’s personal account via EFT. The organisers will contact the winners via private message on Facebook to obtain banking details. Prizes will be deposited into winner’s accounts within five working days of receiving banking details.


Winners will be notified via the iloveavocadoSA Facebook page and via private Facebook inbox message by Friday 30th June 2017.


If SAAGA is unable to get hold of any prize winner(s) within 7 (seven) days after the prize announcement date (6/07/17), SAAGA will select another winner/s and the prize will be awarded to the lucky winner/s who has/have met all the conditions of the competition rules.


SAAGA has the right to end this competition at any time. If this happens, SAAGA will publish a notice on Facebook and you agree to waive (give up) any rights that you may have about this competition and acknowledge that you will have no rights against SAAGA.

SAAGA reserves the right to change the rules of the competition. SAAGA will publish changes on SAAGA’s website: and SAAGA’s Facebook page: iloveavocadoSA

For convenience only, the date on which these rules were last amended is shown above. It is your responsibility to check the websites for amendments to these rules.

The participant agrees not to hold SAAGA legally responsible for any discrepancies or errors caused due to the software and/or handset a participant used.

The participant will not hold SAAGA liable for any technical errors originating from the SAAGA hosting website, (Facebook), network suppliers and other service providers.

Participants are responsible for any data, cell-phone or any other charges necessary to enable participants to gain the necessary network or internet access to be able to access Facebook to enter the competition.

Any Facebook promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are disclosing your information to SAAGA and not to Facebook. By participating in this promotion you release Facebook from any and all liability in relation to the promotion.

The prizes are not exchangeable/transferable for any other prize.

No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are lost or delayed, or which are not received for any reason, including technical and IT reasons. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt.

By entering the competition the winner agrees to participate in such promotional activity and material as SAAGA may require. The selection of winner’s will remain final. Any matter concerning the competition and/or arising out of these terms and conditions is final and binding on you, and no correspondence will be entered into.


Avo’s on E-TV Weekly

We are pleased to let you know that avocados will be the focus of the next couple of weeks(14, 21 & 28 June) cooking demos on Sunrise which airs from 05h30-09h00.  As I am sure most of you know, is South Africa’s biggest independent, free-to-air television channel.  With over 16 million viewers, appeals to all races, ages and income groups and is the most viewed English language channel in the country.

It has been planned that the chef will demo an avo kota, various avo on toast options (for Father’s Day breakfast), avo corn soup (for the cold weather) as well as avo as an ideal topping for regular meals i.e. guacamole on a steak, salsa on a burger and avo mayo for potato salad. The chef who will be doing our demos is Doreen Molefe (Chef Dee).  Doreen studied at the Chef’s Training and Innovation Academy and currently writes two food columns for Daily Sun and Sunday Sun.  She has won countless cooking challenges in the past three years and also appeared on several TV shows promoting her cooking journey.

Hopefully you have a moment to sit down with a cup of coffee to watch our avos on!

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