The industry group New Zealand Avocado says it has big plans to grow exports to China now that access to the market has been secured.
The first commercial shipment of avocados from growers in the Bay of Plenty and Far North arrived in China last week.
The shipment followed years of preparations, inspections, trialling and certification by Chinese and New Zealand authorities.
The chief executive of New Zealand Avocado, Jen Scoular said about 40,000 trays of avocados would be sent to China this season, but that was just the beginning.
"We're anticipating that that market would take five or six hundred thousand trays withing five or six years," she said.
Most avocados sold in China are from Mexico, Chile, and Peru.
Ms Scoular said competition was tough as these countries already had well established relationships.
"We're certainly very happy to have access to the China market, but [also] aware that it is a market of huge opportunity and huge challenge, " she said.
Ms Scoular said the industry needed to work with other exporters to promote New Zealand avocados.
Avocado sales in Thailand taking off
Avocados are gaining more popularity and preference in Thailand, New Zealand Avocado said.
The industry group said avocado exports to Thailand had experienced significant growth in the past five years, from 3,000 trays imported in 2013 to a forecast 150,000 trays for 2018.
One tray is equal to 5.5kgs.
New Zealand Trade Commissioner Ryan Freer commended the ongoing success and growth of the New Zealand avocado industry and commented on the strong relations being built between the two countries.
"Thailand is a leading market for New Zealand avocado consumption growth in Asia. We have seen a growing interest from Thai consumers seeking premium imported produce from New Zealand, and New Zealand avocados are benefitting from a healthy diet and lifestyle trend." Mr Freer said.
rnz.co.nz - Maja Burry