How Avocados Are Tested for Optimal Flavor and Consistency Before Export

By Ana Ambrosi • Sep 4, 2020

To ensure every fruit satisfies the consumer expectations of flavor, consistency, and color, Mexican avocados go through a quality control process called dry matter testing.

Avocados have a creamy flavor, smooth texture, and vivid green hue — all characteristics that make them so beloved by consumers. For the avocado producers and packers in Michoacán, Mexico, there is a science to achieving that deliciousness expected by U.S. consumers.

The key to procuring avocados with delicious taste and optimal consistency is in the fruit’s oil content. Without enough oil, avocados lack the flavor, texture, color, and overall quality that consumers expect and crave. To ensure every avocado exported to the U.S. meets those standards, avocado packers test for an adequate oil percentage through a process called dry matter testing.

Implemented in 2007 by the Association of Avocado Exporting Producers and Packers of Mexico (APEAM), the dry matter test has become an essential step in the export process for consumers, growers, and packers alike. Because it is the only dry matter test certified by APEAM, every exported Mexican avocado is tested using the exact same process, helping to provide consistent quality and nutritious value in every shipment.

Why Is Dry Matter Testing Important?

Unlike many of the industry’s food safety procedures, the dry matter test is not a mandated step in the avocado export program. Rather, it is a measure self-imposed by APEAM to establish a set standard of quality for every exported fruit.

The packers conduct the dry matter test each harvest season. Doing so reassures the packers and growers of APEAM that they are only exporting delicious, creamy avocados — the kind that will satisfy both APEAM members and U.S. consumers.

Avocado Dry Matter Testing

Avocados always go through the dry matter testing process at the packer’s stage of the export cycle, but the test is so simple and inexpensive that you could conduct it at home.

How to Conduct an Avocado Dry Matter Test

Required equipment:

  • Calculator
  • Precision scale
  • Microwave oven
  • Bond paper
  • Peeler
  • Knife
  • Spoon
  • Cutting board
  • Record sheet and a pen
Step 1
The tester takes five avocados, at random, from each batch of fruit.
Step 2
He cuts the avocado along the fruit’s longitude. After separating the halves, he removes the pit with a spoon.
Step 3
Using the peeler, the tester takes thin slices from the avocado, placing them atop the bond paper.
Step 4
Making sure to subtract the weight of the paper, the tester weighs the sample. The final number is referred to as the net wet weight.
He repeats Steps 1-4 with each avocado.
Step 5
The tester places all five avocado samples in the microwave oven for five minutes at medium heat, to avoid burning. He weighs the dehydrated fruit, marking the difference on his record sheet.
Step 6
He repeats Step 5, microwaving the same avocado samples — only this time, for just three minutes. The tester then marks the new weight of the avocado sample, again making sure to subtract the weight of the bond paper.
Step 7
He repeats this process, microwaving the samples at two-minute intervals until there is no weight change,indicating the avocado is completely dehydrated. The tester marks this number as the net dry weight.
Step 8

The final step is calculating the dry matter percentage. To find this number, the tester follows this formula:Dry Matter % Formula:

net dried weight
——————— X 100
net wet weight

The Results:

The higher the dry matter percentage, the higher the oil content inside an avocado. The higher the oil content, the more flavor the avocado has.

The avocado industry has determined that an avocado’s dry matter percentage must be greater than 21%. Anything less does not meet the standard of export.

The avocados cannot be exported < 21% > The avocados are ready for export!

Because all exported avocados match that dry matter percentage set by APEAM, consumers can trust that every Mexican avocado they bring home will have the creamy flavor and consistency they’re used to tasting, time and time again — and farmers can remain confident that their avocados are some of the best quality in the world.