Mission Produce extending shelf life of avocados

avolast For more than 35 years, Mission Produce has invested in people, state-of-the-art technology and an avocado-specific infrastructure to expertly serve its customers, growers and partners. 

The company owns and operates state-of-the-art avocado packing facilities in multiple global locations including California, Mexico and Peru. In addition, its global distribution network includes a dozen forward distribution centers in North America, China and Europe.

“With the challenges of this new normal in produce and avocados, we’re doing our best to stay ahead of the curve,” said Patrick Cortes, senior director of business development for the Oxnard, CA-based company. “Our Peruvian season is going extremely well. The quality and flavor profile is absolutely fantastic. We’re very happy about how things are trending right now.”

Over the past four months, the avocado category has been strong with lots of demand from consumers.

“The biggest thing for us has been ensuring our supply chains as the pandemic hit,” Cortes said. “I’m very proud of the way we handled our supply chain while keeping our employees safe, but still delivering good quality, ripe fruit at a good cost.”

There are a lot of avocados on the market with California about 75 percent through its harvest and the Flora loca harvest showing estimates of being double-digit higher than expected.

“We will see Peru through August and September, so the hope is we’ll see some stability,” Cortes said.

Mission Produce has recently partnered with Hazel Technologies on new post-harvest technology called AvoLast Powered by Hazel, which are quarter-sized biodegradable and food-safe packaging insert that blocks ethylene receptors while minimizing operational impact to the supply chain.

“We started working with Hazel four years ago and what made this solution intriguing to us was that it worked and it was easily integrated into our supply chain,” Cortes said. “One of the main benefits is it gives 2-4 days of added shelf life, and it extends the internal quality, allowing consumers to have more positive experiences with avocados.”

By increasing the shelf life of both hard and ripe Hass avocados, both Mission Produce’s retail and foodservice customers can reduce throwaways, increasing profit and minimizing inventory stress. More importantly, AvoLast can also reduce global food waste, an increasing environmental, ethical and financial threat. 

“AvoLast is the rare win/win solution that delivers a better consumer experience and substantial environmental benefits,” Aidan Mouat, Hazel Technologies’s CEO, said. “In the U.S. alone, food distribution waste consumes about 6 percent of our total energy budget, 24 percent of our fresh water, and generates somewhere around 300 million metric tons harmful carbon emissions. As the market demands efficiencies to reduce this waste, Hazel’s technology is increasingly vital.” 

During the pandemic, Cortes believes AvoLast is even more important, as consumers demand safety in their products.

“As consumers adapt to new habits and behaviors during this time of uncertainty, AvoLast is the perfect solution to support the longevity of avocados on the shelf or behind the counter,” he said. “With AvoLast retailers and foodservice businesses can reduce shrink and continue or enhance their avocado ripening programs without compromising on consumer experience due to overripe fruit.”

The company has already done trials with AvoLast with some retailers and made a full launch announcement at the virtual PMA Foodservice Delivered event in July.

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