On-fruit labeling of California avocados has begun appearing at retail.
So far, 10 of the state’s 13 largest packers are using the labels or have plans to do so by the start of the 2015 season.
Stickers aim to make the product’s origin in the state prominent in a way that mirrors marketing efforts, California Avocado Commission president Tom Bellamore said in a news release.
Those efforts are taking shape in print, radio and online marketing – including mobile and social media – that encourages consumers to look for the label. A new video series, “A Look Behind the Label,” takes them into the grove and offers insights on the fruit.
Connecting promotion efforts with the California brand at point of sale is a concept the Irvine-based commission has supported for more than 20 years. The commission considered it when price lookup stickers were first implemented, and again with the launch of the California Avocado Grower campaign in 2008.
Though some packers have used California labels, the origin was often in fine print missed by some consumers, or lacked graphical compatibility with commission efforts.
“Convincing packers to make a change was not without difficulty,” Bellamore said. “For a variety of legitimate business reasons, many avocado packers had previously not made California branded labeling a priority. In the first place, most packers source from several different points of origin and creating a seamless supply of avocados for their customers is important to them. There are also logistical issues involved in adding a sticker to the fruit in the packing line or redesigning a label, especially at startup.”
To attract packers to its label initiative, the commission conducted focus-group and then in-store research with consumers.
“It was no real surprise that the consumer response was very positive when California was clearly visible on labeled fruit,” Bellamore said.
A two-sticker option involves adding a California brand label with commission-designed artwork to the fruit, alongside the packer’s label with the price lookup barcode.
The commission has also designed a California branded label with a barcode, and a comparable price lookup label. Some packers are working with the basic design and adding their name or brand.