Avocado sales continue to grow, making them a great item to showcase in your produce department. The growth in popularity of diets that include avocados as a healthy fat and the rising population of Hispanic consumers in the U.S., accounts for much of the growth. Market avocados year-round to make the most of their increasing popularity.
- Avocados offer numerous health benefits. They contain lutein, which can help keep eyes healthy. Avocados are a nutrient booster that help the body absorb more phytonutrients from other foods. Avocados contain carotenoids, phytonutrients that can help prevent some chronic diseases, and beta-sitosteral, which can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for avocados: sodium-free and cholesterol-free.
- Avocados offer plentiful opportunity for cross-merchandising because they are usually eaten as part of a dish and not by themselves. Consider cross-merchandising them with bagged salads, limes, lemons, tomatoes, chips, sandwich fixings and guacamole mix.
- Some varieties of avocados are available year-round, so create a year-round marketing plan for this versatile fruit.
- Fall: When fall rolls around, so does football season. No football tailgate or party is complete without guacamole. Market avocados as part of a “game day special” promotion plan.
- Winter: Holiday parties and gatherings call for chips and dip as well as salads and sandwiches. Avocados can play a role in all of those. Promote them as a nutritious addition to leftover turkey sandwiches and salads for the holiday table as well as their traditional role as a great guacamole dip. Don’t forget a big push during the Super Bowl.
- Spring: Spring is the time for fresh salads. Promote avocados as a healthy, hearty addition to salads. Promote avocados heavily at Cinco de Mayo. Offer recipes for Mexican-themed dishes that include avocados.
- Summer: Summertime makes consumers think of backyard barbecues and summertime holidays. Include avocados in grilling promotions as they make a tasty and original topping for burgers and sandwiches.
- For a long time, avocados were pushed aside because of their high fat content. Disabuse consumers of that idea by including signs that talk about the health benefits of avocados.
- Don’t limit your display to just one variety. Offer a choice of varieties and sizes to meet all your consumers’ needs. The most common variety is hass, which is available year-round. Other varieties include fuerte, reed, zutano, bacon and pinkerton.
- Avoid bruising avocados. They aren’t as sturdy as they look, so keep displays to one level and avoid dumping them on the display.
- Educate consumers about how to ripen an avocado at home.
- Offering both bagged and bulk product on your display can increase sales. Research by the California Avocado Commission shows that a secondary bag display can bring in more than $400 more per week than in stores without a bag display.
- Avocados dark green color works well next to brighter vegetables like tomatoes. The placement also encourages consumers to think about using avocados in salads and Mexican dishes. Research shows that bulk avocados sell best when placed next to tomatoes.
- Avocados don’t hold up to cooking well. When adding them to a dish, put them in at the very end of the cooking process. Cook them just until they are warmed through.
- Include avocados in salads and on salad bars.
- Use sliced avocados as a topping for sandwiches and burgers. Avocados can even be used in place of meat on a vegetarian sandwich.
- Keep uncooked avocados green by brushing the cut surface with lemon or lime juice.
In The Backroom
55-lb. bushels 40-lb. 4⁄5-bushel cartons or bags 38-40 lb. RPC 37.5-lb. euro box, volume fill or tray-packed 26-lb. flats/cartons, 2-layer 25-lb. cartons/lugs, 2-layer bliss, tray-packed or tight-fill 25-lb. cartons, bulk-fill 23-lb. cartons, 2-layer 13-lb. flats/cartons, 1-layer 12 1⁄2-lb. cartons, 1-layer bliss, tray-packed or tight-fill RPC 6416 Consumer packs 4-lb. boxes Foodservice packs Hass, gwen, pinkerton, fuerte and late-season reeds are available in a variety of foodservice packs, including a 12 1⁄2-lb. 1-layer flat, a 25-lb. 2-layer lug or 6-lb. Handy Packs. The fruit is sized according to the numbers packed per containers. Sizes 40, 48 and 60 are the most popular sizes for foodservice, although hass are available in larger sizes.
United States U.S. No. 1 U.S. combination U.S. No. 2 Imported avocados are subject to these requirements. California California fruit is required to be basically free from all defects that cause a waste of 10% or more by weight of the entire avocado. The state offers a No. 1 and standard grade pack in most sizes.
Avocados should be shipped and received at 40 F, 4.4 C pulp temperature. Major California and Florida shippers offer preconditioned avocados. Softening of avocados is triggered before shipment by ethylene treatment, then the fruit is refrigerated until delivered. That allows uniform softening with rapid turnover and immediate use. The hass variety usually will turn black when ripe. Most Florida varieties and non-hass varieties remain green. An indication of ripeness for all varieties is when the fruit gives to slight pressure. Fruit treated with ethylene can be stored up to two weeks. To soften, they should be kept at room temperature that does not exceed 75 F, 24 C. An avocado produces ethylene gas as it ripens, but treating avocados with ethylene yields greater uniformity. Temperature: cold-tolerant, 40 F, 4.4 C; cold-intolerant, 55 F, 13.3 C Relative humidity: 85% Mist: No Typical shelf life: 14 to 28 days Ethylene producer. Do not store or transport with commodities that produce ethylene. Odor producer. Do not store or transport with odor-sensitive items, such as pineapple. Highly sensitive to freezing injury Susceptible to chilling injury. Damage sometimes is not apparent until the produce is returned to a higher temperature.
- 40% of consumers say they purchased avocados in the past year.
- Hispanic consumers are the most likely to purchase avocados, followed closely by Asian shoppers.
- Consumers in the West are considerably more likely to purchase avocados than consumers in the rest of the country.
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