As Jan DeLyser becomes chairwoman of the Produce Marketing Association, she’ll find members yearning to see her success promoting California avocados extended to other fresh fruits and vegetables.
One of them is outgoing chairman Rich Dachman, vice president of produce for Sysco Corp., Houston.
“Being the marketer she is in what I consider the most successful commodity we’ve seen for increased consumption and popularity, I’m ecstatic about her taking those lessons learned and progressing to other products,” Dachman said.
DeLyser is vice president of marketing for the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission.
“We want to take up best practices from what they’ve done and get some of the secrets out of her to figure out how we’re going to move forward with our industry,” Dachman said.
DeLyser was The Packer’s Produce Marketer of the Year in 2011. This year the state’s avocados continue to set the pace. The Fourth of July surpassed all previous Super Bowls and Cinco de Mayo holidays with 85.4 million pounds consumed, she said.
“We looked at items normally consumed during traditional American holiday events and developed recipes that fit nicely with avocados,” DeLyser said.
“The goal is to make it mainstream to be consuming them whether it’s Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Labor Day.”
In September, DeLyser went to Washington, D.C., to discuss the broader implications for produce marketing at a meeting of the National Restaurant Association’s Food & Healthy Living committee.
“The MyPlate program is a great step in the direction of getting fruits and vegetables to the center of the plate, and we all benefit,” she said.
“That’s important, but so are usage ideas throughout the day. When you think about breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and events, there are opportunities.”
“Jan’s marketing background can help us translate trends,” said Lorna Christie, PMA executive vice president and chief operating officer.
“She’ll look at the programs and services that we offer to ensure we are providing the guidance our members need.”
As PMA chairwoman, DeLyser will join her predecessor Dachman and her expected successor — Tim Riley, executive vice president of The Giumarra Cos., Los Angeles — in developing the trade association’s next strategic plan.
The current plan has been in effect for four years.