“They’re high in potassium and monounsaturated fats, and that has helped increase demand,” he said.
“A lot of restaurant chains are adding avocados to their menus,” agreed Ross Wileman, vice president of sales and marketing for Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif.
“I see a lot of usage in sandwiches and salads,” he said, citing their appearance in restaurants such as Panera Bread, Subway and Chipotle. “I think it’s definitely a growing area.”
Foodservice operators know that both Mexico and California are sources of good, fresh avocados, Wedin said, and both have their time of year when quality is at a peak.
Foodservice customers tend to stay with a source longer than retail customers, and they typically switch to a new source a month or later than retailers, he said.
Many foodservice operators request preconditioned avocados, Crane said. And a number order avocados in single-layer flats to save space in the kitchen and to allow for daily deliveries that can ensure freshness and cut down on shrink.
Lucy said avocado consumption is climbing in foodservice and all segments, and he expects the trend to continue.
“I think we can probably double that consumption within five to 10 years,” he said. “We’re just scratching the surface.”