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World Avocado Organization holds first-ever membership meeting

The World Avocado Organization, a Washington, DC-based non-profit that seeks to globally promote the consumption and benefits of avocados on behalf of its member organizations, held its first-ever membership meeting Feb. 7 at The Ritz-Carlton in Berlin, Germany, where more than 120 avocado producer, exporter and importer leaders from the United States, Peru, Mexico, South Africa, Chile, Brazil, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Colombia got a look at the organization’s 2017 marketing program in the European Union and United Kingdom.

“For our inaugural membership meeting, we were truly inspired by the level of energy and engagement displayed by our members,” said Jimmy Bosworth, chairman of the WAO. “The WAO’s goal is to jointly promote the growth of avocado markets in Europe and the United Kingdom, and we look forward to continuing to work hand-in-hand with all of our partners to make that dream a reality.”

The European Union and United Kingdom collectively comprise the second-largest market in the world for imported avocados, consuming more than 800 million pounds (more than 365 million kilos) in 2016 alone.

“This meeting was a very important first step in bringing together some of the varied stakeholders in the avocado market,” added Zac Bard, vice chair of the WAO. “Under the WAO’s unified banner, avocado producers, exporters and importers from around the world will work together to promote avocados for the benefit of all WAO members and European and British avocado consumers.”

As part of the conference agenda, members were briefed on country-specific reports, reviewed agency proposals and heard from key European retailers that will be part of the organization’s first marketing program.

“This undertaking by the WAO is quite unique,” said WAO Chief Executive Officer Xavier Equihua. “Never before has a multi-country organization implemented a generic marketing program of this kind and scale across the EU and U.K. We are extremely excited to see it play out over the course of 2017 and beyond.”