Peru made its first avocado shipments to the United States late in the season of 2011 with small volume, and volume has climbed each year since. This year is the first that Peru is exporting what could be considered a large volume of avocados to the United States, according to Xavier Equihua, chief executive officer of the Peruvian Avocado Commission.
With the season in full swing, Equihua said July 22 that he expects Peru to ship around 115 million pounds of avocados to the United States during the period from late May to early September.
That is “a very condensed window,” he said. “But the good thing is that it is during [the time] when consumption in the United States is at its peak.”
Peruvian fruit is “complementing the other two origins that are in the market” during that period, those being California and Mexico, he said.
To support the Peruvian fruit in the U.S. market, the commission is engaging in “a very robust promotion or marketing program” which is heavily retail-oriented and involves “many tactics,” Equihua said.
“One thing that has turned out to be a really good tactic” to which retailers have responded very well, “is our radio program,” he added. The program started with 18 markets, and PAC is now offering radio in 27 markets across the country,” which is unprecedented for the category. To the best of my knowledge, no other [country of] origin has offered radio in so many markets, not only in the West but also in the Midwest and the East Coast.”
The commission’s approach to tagged radio is unique, Equihua explained. Typically, tagged radio consists of a prerecorded message on the product followed by a tag that says “Now available at your local…“ followed by the name of a supermarket chain, or something on that order. But PAC is taking “a very customized approach” and weaving the tag into the spot, not just tacking it on the end, so the name of the retailer is heard more than once.
In certain cases, the radio spot actually mentions specific promotions the retailer is running, he said. It is “unique to have a spot that is so customized.”
For the Fourth of July pull this year, PAC’s promotional activities included not only tagged radio but also in-store demos and trade advertising, according to a PAC press release.
“Our holiday marketing blitz uses compelling imagery of Peru to create a distinctive platform for the brand,” said Equihua in the release. “Eye catching bins, RPC wraps and in-store demos have been designed to capture the customers’ attention and encourage them to purchase this superfood, avocados from Peru.”
Peru is “the leading supplier of avocados in Europe. The U.S. is an equally important market for Peru, and this year’s crop marks the beginning of a much larger long-term presence for Peru in the U.S.,” said PAC Board Chairman Enrique Camet in a press release.
Peru’s integrated marketing campaign this summer was “designed to create a new type of media experience for the avocado category,” Equihua said in the release. “As the demand for avocados increases in the U.S., we want to make sure consumers choose Avocados from Peru.”
Other components of the summer campaign include a redesigned website, billboards in key markets featuring “dramatic photography of Machu Picchu alongside bold photos of Peruvian avocados,” a multi-channel social media campaign, a recipe contest, eye-catching point-of-sales displays, and the slogan “Monumental flavor.”
PAC is using a uniform approach in all of its markets globally, Equihua told The Produce News. “We sell Peruvian fruit around the world, and we are using the one brand approach for all of the markets” with the same slogan translated into various languages and the same logo. The website will also be translated into various languages, including German, French and Spanish as well as British English, he said. “Eventually, it will also be translated into Chinese, since Peruvian avocados “will be in the Chinese market.”