Avocados flew out of U.S. grocery stores over the holidays, and the Super Bowl shouldn’t be any different.
Mexico, by far, will be the largest supplier of avocados for the Super Bowl, set for Feb. 3 this year, said Phil Henry, president of Escondido, Calif.-based Henry Avocado Corp.
“There’s been a dramatic change the past few years” in the increase in Mexican product and decrease in Chilean product for the Super Bowl, Henry said.
Some California fruit will be harvested before the game, Henry said, but for the most part, supplies will be limited.
“There won’t be large enough quantities to impact the marketplace,” he said. “I would be surprised if there were many promotions.”
Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission, agreed.
“California is set to get an earlier start this year, and there will likely be some volume available for Super Bowl, but for the most part we’re looking at gearing up toward late February,” DeLyser said.
Promotable volumes of California avocados are expected from mid-March through September, she said.
But volumes from Mexico will be abundant for the Super Bowl, Henry said.
The Association of Michoacán State Avocado Producers and Packers (APEAM) projects 986 million pounds of Mexican avocados will be shipped to the U.S. in 2012-13, up from 782 million pounds in 2011-12.
“All retailers will be able to have very good promotions, and the sizing and quality are good,” Henry said.
APEAM’s marketing efforts for the game include broadcast TV in select markets, targeted e-blasts, display and mobile ads, Facebook ads and outreach to bloggers, said Eduardo Serena, APEAM’s marketing director.
“Avocados from Mexico are on track with volume projections and we expect to keep movement strong this winter and spring in order to guarantee another record season,” Serena said.
Excellent movement over the holidays bodes well for the Super Bowl, Henry said. And despite the heavy volumes, he doesn’t expect markets to change much in the runup to the game.
On Jan. 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $18.25-19.25 for two-layer cartons of hass 48s from Mexico, down from $26.25-27.25 last year at the same time.
On-ad retail prices for avocados averaged 95 cents a piece on Dec. 28, down from $1.14 the week before and 97 cents at the same time in 2011, according to the USDA’s National Fruit and Vegetable Retail Report.
Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing Co. will be pushing its new environmentally friendly vegetable platters for the Super Bowl, said Elena Hernandez, the company’s marketing coordinator.
Mann introduced the new clear plastic platter in October. It shows off more produce and has 50% less packaging than other similarly sized party platters, Hernandez said.
Mann will not promote the tray with any Super Bowl-specific messages, but it anticipates brisk movement. With Christmas, the Super Bowl ranks among the company’s biggest promotional targets.
“Trays are a big hit during the Super Bowl,” she said. “People want the convenience.”
Mann also expects to sell plenty of its meat, cheese and vegetable combination trays in the runup to the game, Hernandez said.
Carrots, celery and traditional party platter vegetables aren’t the only fresh-cut products boosted by Super Bowl snacking, she said. Sweet potato spears, for instance, provide a more healthful grilling alternative. Sugar snap peas are another big seller, she said.