Calavo expands avocado packing in Mexico

by Eric Schroeder
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SANTA PAULA, CALIF. — Calavo Growers, Inc. has completed the expansion of fresh avocado packing operations at its Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico, facility.

The expansion will provide Calavo with the capacity to pack at least 6 million lbs of fruit per week, a 200% increase over prior output. Calavo said the stepped-up production capability in Mexico brings it in line with the company’s California packinghouses and pushes total company capacity to approximately 600 million lbs per year.

In addition to increasing the facility’s total square footage by nearly 75%, specific enhancements include larger, faster equipment for grading, sizing and packing that is both quiet and safe. The company also installed larger coolers to keep pace with the increased production.

“Consumer demand for fresh avocados continues to grow at a quickening pace, with per capita consumption heading from 4 to 5 lbs annually,” said Lee E. Cole, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “In the past decade or so alone, that figure has risen from a mere 2 lbs.”

Mr. Cole said industry estimates forecast 2013 U.S. avocado consumption of at least 1.65 billion lbs, an increase of more than 17% from the expected 2012 purchases and about 47% more than 2011 consumption.

“With the anticipated uptick in supply and our expanded capacity, Calavo is well positioned to handle this increased volume,” Mr. Cole said. “Further, the capital investment in Uruapan reflects a new Calavo focus on expanding its market-leading position in the fast-growth fresh avocado segment.”

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