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Index Fresh adds new computer system

For the third time in as many decades, Index Fresh Inc., headquartered in Bloomington, CA, has added a new computer system to stay in tune with the times.

Dana-ThomasDana Thomas

Thomas said the power of computers has come a very long way since the firm put in its initial system more than 30 years ago. He said the previous system lasted about 15 years and he expects that this new one, with upgrades along the way, will have a similar shelf life.

Because of that capital expenditure in 2019, Index is standing pat in 2020 and working on “nuts and bolts” issues, according to Thomas. He defined that as “all the little things you do” that if done properly, lead to success, such as efficient management of inventory, shipping on time, close attention to quality control and matching the customer’s needs with the company’s output.

Echoing the comments that were repeated by virtually all the shippers contacted, Thomas said it has been a very smooth Mexican season so far and he expects that to continue for many months.

“We have good supplies out of Mexico at attractive prices for retailers,” he said. “There has been a little bit of fruit out of Chile and we are expecting to see small volumes from Colombia in November and December.”

But for the most part, he said Mexico would dominate the market until California comes back in late January with small volumes. He expects California to slowly ramp up in February and March, with the vast majority of California fruit sold in April, May, June and July.

California is expected to have a crop about 75 percent greater than last year, and Mexico is also forecasting shipments greater than last year. But Thomas does not expect supply to outstrip demand. In fact, over time, he thinks the opposite may be true.

“Right now supply and demand seem balanced, but long term I think supply is going to have trouble keeping up with demand,” he said, noting that there are a lot of people in the United States and globally that are increasing their own consumption of avocados and desire more.

Index expects Mexico, Peru and Colombia to each increase their fresh avocado production over the next decade to help meet the demand. In fact, he even believes some pockets of California also have the capability of increasing production, though he said the challenges of insufficient water, increasing costs and more urbanization are limiting factors for Golden State growers.