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APEAM looking to grow consumption of Mexican avocados in Canada

by John Groh | April 25, 2011

MONTREAL — If the Avocado Producers & Exporting Packers Association of Michoacan [Mexico] has its way, Cinco de Mayo will become as big an event in Canada as it has become in the United States — complete with a major spike in avocado consumption.

Miss Ava“Research shows that in Canada, only two in five people are ‘very familiar’ with avocados, and most know them only from guacamole,” Emiliano Escobedo, marketing director for APEAM, told The Produce News. “So we feel there is a lot of room for growth here, especially since Canadians are so health-conscious.”

To better realize the potential of Mexican avocados in Canada, APEAM kicked off a promotion earlier this month that features the fictional character Miss Ava Cado, who will take to the streets to interview people about their avocado knowledge and conduct in-store demonstrations with basic messages of how to ripen and cut avocados as well as how to make guacamole.

“And she will be determined to try to make Cinco de Mayo the official holiday of Canada,” Mr. Escobedo said with a wry smile.

Mr. Escobedo said that the timing of the launch of the Canadian promotion, which is also employing heavy use of social media outlets, was tied to the Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention and exposition, held here April 13-15, as well as the fact that Mexican avocados currently have the highest oil content, putting them at their peak of flavor and usage.

He added that Ontario is the center for the promotion, but that APEAM would look to expand it into other provinces in the future.

At the CPMA trade show, APEAM exhibited within the popular Mexican pavilion and handed out samples of guacamole along with literature and usage ideas for Mexican avocados.

APEAM was on a mission to educate the Canadian produce trade with the messages that avocados are a delicious and nutritious food that can be used in many ways beyond the ubiquitous guacamole recipe, and that the fruit first originated in Mexico.

Currently, Canada is receiving 930,000 pounds of Mexican avocados per week. By comparison, the United States receives 14 million to 15 million pounds per week, according to Mr. Escobedo.