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The relatively cool summer in Southern California has helped extend the California avocado season this year, and the California Avocado Commission is actively promoting the late-season fruit while gearing up its plans for 2011.

CAC will share the latest avocado category data demonstrating the value of the California season and unveil key aspects of the commission's marketing support plans at this year’s PMA Fresh Summit expo.

"California avocados are on track for outstanding performance in 2010," Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the commission, said in a press release. “At retail, the most current scan data show dollar sales were up 10.1 percent for the first nine weeks when California avocados were in distribution vs. the prior nine weeks when few California avocados were in the market.” Additionally, foodservice chains have put together remarkable promotions with California avocados throughout the season.

At Fresh Summit, commission staff also will share information regarding avocado merchandising best practices. The spring-through-summer holidays, including Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, July 4 and Labor Day, provide excellent opportunities for merchandising avocados, according to the commission. These traditional American celebrations and California avocados make a natural thematic fit.

The commission will demonstrate consumers’ trust in locally grown produce and their desire to support products grown in the United States. In fact, 61 percent of consumers say it is important that avocados are grown in the United States.

Consumers of California avocado are particularly active as fans on social media. Earlier this year, the commission launched its Facebook page, which already has more than 45,000 fans.

Visitors to the commission’s PMA booth (No. 2343) can view a demonstration of the passion that consumers show for California avocados in the social media channels.

The commission is also very active on Twitter, and will be tweeting live from the PMA show floor. Attendees who follow CAC’s tweets during the expo at will have an opportunity to win a Flip video camera.

Another opportunity that enhances the PMA experience is the sampling of innovative produce flavors and recipes. Visitors to the commission’s booth will have the opportunity to sample some of the category usage-expanding recipe concepts that CAC will be marketing to consumers.

A popular San Diego-based chef, Jeff Rossman, will demonstrate two original California avocado recipes: chicken and avocado crepes, and California avocado and chipotle steak salad.

Commission staff also will be on hand to provide a sneak preview of CAC’s plans to build upon the California avocado grower marketing campaign in 2011, as well as share research insights, national and regional sales data.

“Avocados grown in California’s ideal coastal climate, nurtured with care by small, multi-generational California family farmers living on and caring for the land, align perfectly with many retailers’ strategic programs,” Ms. DeLyser added in the press release. “We invite PMA attendees to CAC’s booth to learn how merchandising California avocados can boost retailer avocado sales.”