Fourth of July avocado actual sales figures indicate 118.3 million pounds were sold in the United States in support of holiday festivities, making it the highest Fourth of July consumption period for avocados on record.

The results were stronger than the 100-million pound pre-holiday projection and surpassed the 2016 actual by nearly 20 percent. Memorial Day, which kicks off the U.S. summer holiday season, also accounted for 118.3 million pounds.

The California Avocado Commission kicked off its programming in April with season-opening activities followed by its American Summer Holidays program in May, California Avocado Month activities in June and programs for the Fourth of July. 

The commission’s California Avocado Month advertising incorporated print and in-store radio as well as Pandora audio targeted to where California Avocados are in distribution. It was supported by social media that generated more than 8.2 million impressions. Digital advertising has played a big role in California avocado marketing this year.

Three video recipes produced this year by ABC in Denver for Colorado Potatoes, the marketing arm of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, continue to gain traction on social media, the committee’s website and the Google Ad network.

According to Linda Weyers, assistant director of CPAC, and Savannah Schlaufman, marketing administrative assistant, the recipes were developed by Colorado Chef Jason Morse and are presented in “fast hands” mode, showing how the renowned chef puts together such fare as potato-inclusive Colorado Chicken and Waffle Hash, Colorado Flatbread and Colorado Potato Poutine.colopotatopoutineA Colorado twist on a Canadian classic gives this potato poutine a green chile kick. Photo courtesy of CPAC/Colorado Potatoes

The latter, a riff on the Canadian cheesy treat, is a showstopper with Colorado spuds, lots of cheese and green chile.

The videos, which were launched in May and will run a total of three months, rotate in airing, with each running about a minute.

“We’re reaching out to food enthusiasts,” Schlaufman said of how the audiences were targeted. Much of the effort focuses on the Southeast, where large volumes of Colorado potatoes are shipped.

After previous campaigns indicated the area with the highest response, the marketing team began working to that strength.

“We have our geographic area narrowed down to seven states reaching from Texas to Florida,” Schlaufman said.

“Our last campaign was Colorado Potato Noodles, and we were really happy with it,” Schlaufman said. “We expanded on it for this three-video campaign.”

Facebook and Instagram are the two social media platforms being used, with likes and shares increasing consumer exposure exponentially.

Schlaufman said, “Also, whoever uses the Google network can share the videos on their personal YouTube page.”

In addition to the foodie fun, Schlaufman is producing her own videos as well. Called “From Seed to Store,” the productions look at the San Luis Valley potato season throughout its entire process. Schlaufman said she’s hoping to “reach people who’ve never been on a farm.” Those videos will also be on Facebook and YouTube.

The National Watermelon Promotion Board has invited all retail chains, independent retailers and commissaries with watermelons of U.S. origin to submit entries to its retail display contest. The annual contest was originally established to honor National Watermelon Month in July and is now in its ninth year. It is used by NWPB to encourage retailers to create displays that showcase the many benefits of watermelon, including health, value and versatility.

New this year, more than $10,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to top entrants, including “Classic” and “Star Spangled” watermelon categories. Winners in both categories will receive $1,500, $800 for second place winners, $600 for third place winners and $400 for both fourth place winners, respectively. Eight honorable mentions in each category will win $200 each.

Displays should promote watermelon of any kind, including whole, fresh-cut watermelon, mini watermelon, yellow and red or any mix thereof. Judges will consider a display’s overall appearance, creativity, shop-ability and use of point-of-sale materials such as recipe cards and/or selection and storage tips. To assist in the contest, NWPB provides free resources to retailers with a display contest kit, including point-of-sale materials like brochures, posters, balloons, recipe cards and stickers. Additional cutting and usage ideas and tips on how to create effective watermelon displays are also provided.

Retailers can submit their displays now throughout the summer months of July and August. To request a display contest kit, visit

To enter a display, retailers can submit their entry via an online contest form at (recommended) or mail entry from and photos beginning July 10. All entries must be submitted/postmarked by midnight EST on Sept. 8. For more information, including official contest rules and last year’s winning displays, visit or contact Juliemar Rosado at

Hardie’s Fresh Foods has earned its Safe Quality Food Level 2 certification at all four warehouses: Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, TX.

Recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative, the SQF certification is a worldwide initiative that provides the standard of providing the safest foods to consumers. Very few companies achieve Level 2 certification within four locations throughout the state, making Hardie’s Fresh Foods one of the most reputable foodservice distributors in Texas.

To further its commitment to educating more than five hundred employees, Hardie’s Fresh Foods recently held its annual Safety Week to share the long-lasting impact that the SQF Level 2 standards have with the restaurants it serves. SQF standards require rigorous testing, including audits that measure traceability and safety standards. Using these standards, Hardie’s Fresh Foods is able to give its customers confidence in the food safety of the fresh foods they are serving.

“Our chef partners choose Hardie’s Fresh Foods because of our unprecedented commitment to safety and quality — their guests demand it, and we deliver on it,” Tony Stachurski, vice president of corporate procurement from Hardie’s Fresh Foods, said in a press release. “Our SQF certification is just the beginning in our long-term commitment to providing the safest, best tasting fresh foods to restaurants throughout Texas.”

“I love working with Hardie’s Fresh Foods because of the standard of excellence they provide — they’re on time, friendly, and efficient,” Suki Otsuki, executive chef with Mudhen Meat and Greens, said in the release. “I can trust that every delivery that comes to my restaurant has been ‘stamped’ by Hardie’s quality and safety standards and will be the freshest foods to serve my guests.”

The Kroger Co. announced today the appointment of Liz Ferneding to Ruler division president, effective July 31. Ferneding succeeds Paul Bowen, who retired in May. Ferneding joins Kroger from ALDI, where she has served in a variety of leadership roles for the last 11 years, including an international assignment in Australia. Upon her return to the United States, Ferneding was promoted to marketing director and then earlier this year, she was promoted to director of corporate buying.

The Ruler division is headquartered in Seymour, IN, with 48 stores operating in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee. Ruler stores, which average 19,000 square feet, offer low prices and an expansive selection of Our Brands foods. Ruler will open two new stores later this year.

"Liz's extensive grocery retail experience in procurement, marketing, advertising, management and operations will be an asset to our Ruler associates, customers and community," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release. "We have a lot of respect for the Ruler format and the customer it serves. Liz's talent and insights will help us sharpen our value-centric, small-format store."

"I'm excited to join the Ruler team to help further develop the format, grow the brand and enhance customer engagement," Ferneding said in the release. "I have admired the Kroger Co. both as a consumer and a competitor and have looked to the company throughout my tenure in the industry as a benchmark in grocery retail."

Ferneding is a graduate of the Farmer School of Business at Miami University.