Bags are changing some fundamental marketing dynamics for avocado sales in retail stores, marketers say.
“Bags continue to drive value, especially when price points become advantageous and retailers give their customers a perceived value,” said David Fausset, salesman/category manager with Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce Inc. “I expect growth to continue, especially in periods of steady supplies.”
How or why that change is occurring is debatable; the results aren’t, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing, Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc.
“Our bag business is through the roof,” he said.
A big benefit bags have brought is in the number of avocados consumers purchase at one time, Wedin said.
“The likelihood that they’d buy four to six is much less than picking up a bag, running it through the scanner and having a week’s supply,” Wedin said.
Retail clients love the results, too, Wedin said.
“Our customers tell us they’re super-happy,” he said.
Retailers who actively market bagged avocados reap the most positive results, Wedin said.
“I have found that retailers who are successful with bags are the ones who promote them, so they need to be promoted,” he said.
Bags have changed retail sales of avocados in a number of important ways, said Dana Thomas, president of Riverside, Calif.-based Index Fresh Inc.
One way, he said, is the merchandising options bags create.
“You can put recipes, avocado fun facts, logos, and there’s the convenience,” Thomas said.
They also tie in to promotional materials and social media, Thomas said.
One example, Thomas noted, is Index Fresh’s use of its Chef Charlotte, Connie Convenience and Muscle Marv characters that can be found on bags.
“One is the idea of convenience and ease of use, one sells the health benefits and one sells cooking uses,” he said. “You can do a lot of merchandising, plus on a more pragmatic sense, you increase the ring on avocados.”
Bags also help stores that have not offered multiple sizes of avocados work in some choices, said Maggie Bezart-Hall, vice president of retail for Irving, Texas-based Avocados From Mexico.
“It’s a good transition for them to get into different sizes of avocados,” she said.
Multiple sizes translates into more choices and, therefore, more sales, said retail consultant Dick Spezzano, owner of Spezzano Consulting Service in Monrovia, Calif.
“You’ll have larger size — some use 48 and some use 40 — then, they’ll carry a 60 bulk, a value-priced; and they then will carry a bag of 70s or 80s that retail for $2 or something like that,” he said. “It really helps out the growers because they have one customer that can take more than one size. You take more of the manifest and if you take three sizes, it’s even better.”
However retailers use bags, more consumers are choosing them, said Dan Acevedo, business development director with West Pak Avocado Inc. in Marietta, Calif.
He noted that bags comprise about 15% of the total retail avocado volume in the U.S.
“Consumers are able to store bagged avocados at an ambient temperature to speed up the ripening or placed in the refrigerator to help extend the shelf life,” he said.
Bags are great marketing tools, said Jose Rossignoli, category general manager with Eden Prairie, Minn.-based C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc.’s Robinson Fresh division.
“As consumers get more adventurous and are looking for ideas to use avocados, the retail space on bags can be used to communicate information about the fruit and offer suggestions for preparations or additional resources,” he said, noting that C.H. Robinson offers Green Giant Fresh avocados in three-, four- and five-count mesh and standup pouch bags that include recipe and usage information.