Loris Li
Loris is Mintel’s Food & Drink Analyst based in the Shanghai office. Prior to Mintel, she worked in the wine and spirits industry for over six years in the US and in China.

The avocado craze has hit China. According to statistics from Comtrade, imports of avocado in China have grown to 25 tonnes in 2016, up from a meagre 1.9 tonnes in 2010. Initially a fruit that many Chinese consumers were unfamiliar with, the growth in the variety of restaurants and cuisines available—especially in tier one cities—coupled with increased travel has turned things around for the avocado.

Known as ‘butter fruit’, avocados are featuring more and more on restaurant menus, and are even being promoted by some fast food chains. Late last year, KFC launched a limited edition menu that included the Avocado Zinger Burger and Avocado Twister. Further, Taco Bell, a chain which sees the use of the fruit in its menu items, has also expanded its footprint in China. Being featured on these menus has brought more familiarity among Chinese consumers, increasing the likelihood of them consuming avocados at home.

Convenience drives avocado consumption

Avocados, which are conveniently boxed at the perfect ripeness, and are ready-to-eat, will encourage more Chinese consumers to make a purchase. In the past, as it was a still relatively new fruit, unfamiliarity with the ripening process could have been turning consumers off. These new, ready-to-eat packs also have serving suggestions and/or recipes included on the pack.

The proportion of food and drink spending used for snack foods is increasing in China. According to Mintel research, snacks accounted for 13% of consumer spending in 2017. The ‘butter fruit’ could be appealing in snack foods especially since Japan—a market that China frequently looks to for innovation—is home to major brands that offer avocado-based snacks.

Avocado & Cream Cheese Flavour Tortilla Chips, Japan

All in all, manufacturers should take advantage of the current interest in avocados by introducing products that allow consumers to enjoy avocados in the comforts of their homes. As well, avocados can be promoted as a healthy fruit containing ‘good’ fats.