Florida also has its green-skinned avocados in full flow - The Packer

Florida also has its green-skinned avocados in full flow

08/14/2014 11:11:00 AM
Jim Offner

While hass avocados continue to dominate the U.S. market, Florida is showing growth with its green-skinned fruit, marketers there say.

It’s a market both can share, said Mary Ostlund, director of marketing for Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals Inc., which markets green-skinned fruit under the SlimCados banner.

“With avocado overall demand growing, Florida varieties’ demand follows,” Ostlund said.

It’s all about giving shoppers options, she said.

“Consumers like a choice and they’re liking SlimCados as one of their choices,” Ostlund said.

Jessie Capote, owner of Miami-based grower-shipper J&C Tropicals Inc., said it’s important to understand the uniqueness of the Florida avocados, which he describes as a different animal.

Capote said he attributes his company’s avocado sales success to helping retailers understand and appreciate the differences between green-skinned and hass avocados.

“I think some of our success at retail has been convincing retailers you can’t treat them the same,” he said.

The Florida avocado season generally runs from late May through January, although most commercial harvesting in southern Florida begins in early to mid-June. Promotable volumes ramp up by early July.

Growers this year were expected to harvest 1.1 million bushels from 7,500 acres, a little less than the 1.2 million bushels they harvested in the 2013-14 season, the Florida Avocado Administrative Committee reported at the start of the current deal.

Brooks touts the SlimCado as being lower in fat and calories, which falls in line with many consumer preferences.

“It may be one avocado for the party dip, but a SlimCado for slicing on top their dinner salad,” Ostlund said.

Consumers can offer their own dining guests choices with hass and green-skinned avocados, preparing two guacamoles for guests, Ostlund said.

“That’s giving their guests a choice that may be the talk of the party,” Ostlund said.

Some hosts are combining hass and Florida avocados in their guacamole, Ostlund said.

“Their avocado dollar goes farther with Florida green skins (per pound), and it makes a guacamole that gets guests asking for the recipe,” Ostlund said.

Brooks works with retailers on usage ideas for Florida avocados, Ostlund said.

“Don’t stop at just guacamole displays. Salad displays go beyond just the tossed — give your customer ideas for add-ons to summer favorites like macaroni, potato and even coleslaw,” she said.

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