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Mevi picks Oppenheimer Group for avocado partnership

by | December 01, 2010
Avocados are fast becoming a star performer in the produce department, but consistent double-digit annual retail volume growth is just one reason why the Vancouver, BC-based Oppenheimer Group inked a partnership with Mexican avocado grower Mevi Avocados Inc. in mid-October.

By securing a year-round supply of Mexican avocados, the full-service marketing and distribution company significantly enhanced its emerging avocado category, which includes fruit from Peru and Chile. Mevi, based in Pharr, TX, produces in Michoacán, Mexico.

"Industry-wide, significantly more avocados are moving through retail than we've seen in recent years," John Anderson, Oppenheimer’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a Nov. 30 press release. “The partnership with Mevi is a very good opportunity. We are particularly delighted to align with a grower who can consistently deliver a high-demand product while prioritizing quality and flavor.”

Mevi, which has undertaken its own sales and marketing activity in the past, sought a partner that would help strategically market its product by managing the supply chain and securing more direct-to-retail business.

“This partnership happened at the right time,” Javier Medina, chairman and CEO of Mevi Avocados, said in the release. “We know the avocado industry has maintained steady growth, but we also know it is becoming increasingly competitive. That is the reason why we are choosing to work with Oppenheimer, and in doing so strengthening our market presence.”

Mevi Avocados has plans to significantly increase production. “We are confident that between these plans and our quality focus, with the support of Oppenheimer and its excellent team, good things are on the horizon,” Mr. Medina said in the release.

“During the first few weeks, the working relationship has been a very good one,” Javier Medina Jr., Mevi Avocados’ public relations director, added in the release. “We are aware of all the efforts made by the Oppenheimer team, and we are pleased about it. We are excited to continue working together and [to] make the most of this partnership.”

James Milne, Oppenheimer’s category director for citrus and avocados, agreed that the relationship with Mevi is a timely one. In the release, he said, “Focus on the avocado category has elevated recently — not only at Oppenheimer, but also among our customers. With the popularity of avocados on the rise, our accounts are looking for reliable sources and have been quietly encouraging us to participate in a year-round program. We’ve been on the lookout for the right one and are pleased to have found that with Mevi.”

Mr. Milne pointed to Mevi’s dedication to quality as a meaningful differentiator and a reason for confidence in the partnership. He also credited the Mevi team, based at CrossPoint Cold Storage in Pharr, TX, for a smooth start to the shipping process, which began in earnest in late October following a few months of trial business.

“Oppenheimer and Mevi have moved quickly to put systems in place that enabled us to bring this partnership to life practically overnight,” he said in the release. “It has been a very efficient and exciting collaboration from day one, right across the supply chain. And the best part is that together we can serve our customers with a product that their shoppers want in the condition and quality that brings them back time after time.”