Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission, says a new marketing approach focuses on using avocados in sandwiches.
Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission, says a new marketing approach focuses on using avocados in sandwiches.

ANAHEIM, Calif. — With the start of the 2015 season, the California Avocado Commission plans to add sandwich applications to its successful program that encourages use of the fruit in breakfast dishes and in snacks.

The expanded focus is based on consumer research, said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the Irvine-based commission.

“We're trying to position California avocados to be in that mix and give them creative new usage ideas to spur purchases,” DeLyser said.

The commission also plans to roll out a simplified logo that just contains the word “California” with the same avocado artwork from the older logo below it. The wording “Hand Grown in” has been removed to provide a cleaner appearance, she said.

Four different logo versions are available for packers, including a couple to allow them to customize the stickers with names, Price Look-Up codes and barcodes. One packer plans to use two stickers — one just featuring the California avocado design and the other with its PLU and barcode, she said.

“We really feel in season we have an opportunity to help the consumer know when California avocados are on the shelves,” DeLyser said. “But we realize the category growth is the result of all of the different origins talking together to build the volume.

“We want the retailers knowing when it's California fruit time. With the proximity to U.S. markets, we have the advantage of freshness and consistency and reliability that the consumer has grown to expect.”

The California season should start shortly after New Year's Day, she said.

“A lot of it is going to depend on if it rains,” she said.

Should the state's production area receive seasonal precipitation, growers may hold the fruit on the trees longer to size.

But so far, DeLyser said, “The fruit is sizing a long nicely.”

Next season's crop is estimated to be about 310 million pounds, very similar to the 2014 season that finished with 320 million pounds, she said. The 2014 crop size by and large wasn't affected by the statewide drought.