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Chilean avocado volume expected to be up by more than 30 percent over last year

The Chilean Avocado Importers Association expects a volume increase of 30 to 35 percent over last year, with the main season for Chilean avocados extending from September through March, according to a written statement from the association to The Produce News. “Promotable volumes will be available throughout the fall and winter months, with marketing programs put in place to support retail sales,” the statement said.

“Last year’s avocado crop out of Chile had a bit larger sizing because it was a lower volume crop,” according to the statement. “That being said, Chile is focused on meeting the needs of the U.S. market and will supply a range of sizes to meet various retail requirements. Quality is looking great.”

015-GlobalAvo-CAIA-OrchardAn avocado orchard in Chile. (Photo courtesy of Chilean Avocado Importers Association) The statement highlighted the opportunities that are available in 2013-14 for merchandising Chilean avocados, noting that “Avocados from Chile and football go hand-in-hand. [CAIA] has become known for our expansive promotions that focus on opportunities for football tailgating and ‘homegating,’ encouraging consumers to ‘Grab Some for the Game.’ While there are clearly numerous consumption occasions beyond football, with roughly 158 million avocados (about 79 million pounds) consumed during the Super Bowl alone, the link between football games and guacamole/chips is a strong one that drives retail sales.”

There are also “many opportunities to fit avocados into fall and winter menus,” said CAIA Marketing Director Karen Brux in the statement. “When I think of fall and winter foods, I think of casseroles, soups and hearty salads,” all incorporating avocados. “On www.avocadosfromchile.org, you’ll find easy ideas for all of these. From 10-Minute Tortilla Soup to Avocado Brown Rice Salad, there’s something for everyone.”

Avocados “can be incorporated into numerous holidays and festive occasions during the fall and winter. Whether it’s “ghoulish guacamole,” avocado stuffing or holiday frittatas, there are creative and healthy usage ideas for avocados,” Brux continued. A number of these are featured on the organization’s website.

“Health and nutrition messages never go out of season,” she said. “And with so many holidays during the fall, messages on how to eat healthy are always welcomed by consumers. CAIA merchandisers can work with retailers to communicate new findings from nutrition research being done on avocados, and supply tasty, healthy, convenient usage ideas to pass on to their shoppers.”

With the proper merchandising material, “additional displays outside of the produce department, whether in the deli, baby food aisle, or next to the cashier stands, can be effective in driving sales,” Brux suggested.

“Maybe even a display next to the egg section to promote breakfast ideas. Cross merchandising avocados with items like tortilla chips, tortillas or salsa has also proven effective,” she added.

There are great opportunities for merchandising bag and bulk avocados and two size programs in the fall, according to the statement. “While bulk sales still account for 94 percent of total avocado category dollars, a 3-year study [from the Hass Avocado Board] on retail opportunities for bagged avocados showed 80 percent growth retail dollars” for bagged avocados. Within the bagged category, 4-count bags experienced the highest growth, at 98 percent.

“Consumers buy bulk and bagged avocados for different purposes, so there are definitely opportunities for retailers to grow their avocado sales by selling both. Selling two sizes of avocados is another great way of driving sales. This really meets the needs of different consumers, as smaller avocados can be sold at attractive multiple-unit pricing and attract more budget-minded consumers,” the statement said.

CAIA’s largest retail promotion for the 2013-14 season will be a “Grab Some For the Game” promotion, which includes over $40,000 in prize money for winning retail avocado displays, the statement said.

“Participating produce managers who submit a qualified Chilean avocado display photo will receive an online scratcher and have a chance to win from $50 up to $500.”

To support the contest and ongoing retail merchandising efforts, “we will have a range of point of sale materials available for retailers. With different themes, these materials will allow retailers to focus on everything from different eating occasions (like holidays and football) to the health and nutrition attributes of avocados,” said Brux in the statement.

“With growing support for social media,” she said, “CAIA will provide retailers information, recipes, images and videos that can be posted on retail Facebook pages, websites or blogs. Retail customers will also be offered chances to win gift cards through the successful Chilean Avocado Lovers Club. Shoppers can go online to enter and can also scan QR codes on retail point of sale material.”

Finally, she added, “our merchandisers will work with retailers to develop customized promotions to support their sales of Chilean avocados. The more targeted we can be with our marketing efforts, the more successful we’ll be in expanding the market for Chilean avocados. Honestly, with the ongoing rapid growth in avocado consumption, every time is an ideal time to market avocados. They’re great tasting, healthy, versatile and convenient.”

The year 2012 “was a record breaking year for Hass avocados, with consumption topping 1.5 billion pounds,” according to the statement.

“In 2013, consumption is projected to expand by another 10 percent to 1.65 billion pounds,” the statement added. “Despite this phenomenal growth, there are still millions of consumers who could be eating a lot more avocados. There are significant opportunities to educate and expand the market, developing more volume users and trial users.”