In an unprecedented move, the world's top avocado-producing countries have united, during Fruit Logistica, to create the first global avocado entity, the World Avocado Organization (WAO). The primary purpose of the new organization is to promote, through collectively self-funded marketing programs, the consumption of avocados in the European Union, Asia, and other parts of the world outside the U.S. (There is already a federal promotion program in the U.S. in which the main suppliers to the market participate).
WAO is a U.S. based non-profit global entity that's the first of its kind. The organization is composed of a board of directors representing the interests of its members—avocado producers, exporters, and importers from around the world. The founding member countries include Brazil, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, and the U.S.
“The World Avocado Organization represents the creation of a major international body that has been years in the making and is, to date, the only multinational global marketing organization of its kind," says James Bosworth of ProHass, chairman of the WAO and director for Peru.
"The world is getting smaller and this commodity has achieved a global reach as people everywhere embrace the nutritional benefits of this superfood," adds Zac Bard of Westfalia, the South African director and vice chairman of the WAO.
The idea for a global umbrella organization for the promotion of avocados dates back several years. After nearly eight years of discussions, the idea came to fruition when the founding country members of the WAO agreed to move forward with the idea during the VIII World Avocado Congress in Lima, Peru.
The organization's name is a nod to the importance of the World Avocado Congress, which has been held in every major avocado producing country in the world since it first convened in South Africa in 1987. The charter members wanted to give the organization a name that would be representative and inclusive of the founding and future members from around the globe.
The overall purpose of the organization is to promote the consumption of avocados in the European Union, the second largest consuming market for avocados in the world after the U.S., as well as emerging consumer markets in Asia, such as China and Japan, and other areas of the world.
The WAO plans to launch its first collectively funded marketing programs later this year in several European markets including Germany, Spain, the U.K., and select Scandinavian countries. In 2015 the EU consumed over 800 million pounds of avocados and in 2016 consumption is expected to increase by 10 percent.