With early-season shipments of California avocados underway and
volume expected to increase in February and March, the California Avocado
Commission expects broad availability from April through September and
plans for a marketing campaign to support the fruit nationwide.
"The heavy rainstorms in California in January were welcomed by most
growers because the moisture enhances fruit sizing," Tom Bellamore,
president of the commission, said in a Feb. 16 press release. "The
forecast for this season's crop is in excess of 470 million pounds with
exceptional quality, which means national distribution of California
avocados will be available."
According to data from IRI/Fresh Look, retail avocado dollar sales from
April through September, when California avocados are at the peak of
their season, have outpaced the prior six months for the past three years.
This equates to an additional $292 million in retail business and 116
million more avocados in just three seasons. The commission hopes to
continue this trend, encouraging demand at retail and foodservice via a
fresh approach to its well-received California avocado grower marketing
This season's campaign will take on heightened California branding.
Appealing to consumer interest in the locally grown movement and the
American farmer, the California avocado grower story will continue but
with a fresh graphic look that emphasizes California heritage and
To build consumer demand for California avocados, the commission plans
to advertise nationally in epicurean and lifestyle magazines as well as
through on-line media. The campaign will overlay that support with radio,
billboards, health club posters and shopping cart ads in more mature
"We will invest $9 million in marketing this year, which is similar to the
commission's marketing budget during 2005-06, the year of the largest
California crop in history," Mr. Bellamore added in the press release.
On-line marketing and public relations continue to play a significant role in
the commission's consumer outreach. A fresh design of
www.CaliforniaAvocado.com will highlight the "Insist on California
Avocados" message and encourage expanded avocado usage. The
commission also will engage with loyal fans and advocates via social
media, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, with frequent news and
videos from California avocado growers and chefs.
In the retail arena, California avocado merchandising will include display
bins, recipe cards, point-of-sale materials, market-specific overlays and
support to implement avocado-handling best practices.
Foodservice is another key component of the commission's plan to
increase demand for California avocados. Innovative menu concepts and
customized menu promotions during California's peak avocado season
will support foodservice operators and management companies.