UPDATED: Avocados from Mexico names new leader

01/31/2014 03:14:00 PM
Tom Karst

 (UPDATED COVERAGE, Feb. 7) Alvaro Luque is the new president of Avocados From Mexico Inc., the promotion group for marketing Mexican avocados in the U.S.

The former Mission Foods executive could not be reached for comment through Feb. 6.

Luque brings impressive business credentials and is fluent in Spanish, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and fresh marketing for Santa Paula, Calf.-based Calavo Growers Inc.

Wedin said Feb. 6 that he visited with Luque in late January and said that the new Avocados from Mexico leader also visited the firm’s visited avocado growers and packing facility in Mexico.

“He is clearly a very smart marketing guy,” Wedin said. “It helps that he speaks Spanish and he is very confident about his marketing capability,” Wedin said.

Avocados from Mexico is looking for office space in the Dallas area, Wedin said.

The group combines the U.S.-focused marketing efforts of the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association (MHAIA) and Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Michoacán (APEAM).

Luque is former marketing vice president in the U.S. for Gruma USA, a company that owns Mission Foods, makers of tortilla chips, tortillas and other foods. Luque was with Mission Foods from December 2010 to December 2013 and joined the avocado group in January, according to his profile on LinkedIn.

Luque helped repositioned the Mission Foods portfolio within the general consumer market, and developed a strategic analysis of immigration and acculturation trends to market to the U.S. consumers, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Luque succeeds Tim O’Connor, former leader of the U.S. Potato Board, who was hired as chief executive officer of Avocados From Mexico in April last year but was dismissed in September.

Wedin said the current Mexican avocado crop will be marketed through August. “It is my opinion they will have more fruit in the second half of their season than in the first half,” he said. Demand has been really good, and even if the Mexican crop estimate is raised, Wedin said a smaller California crop should allow good movement of avocados through the supply chain.



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