The idea is to expand use beyond the traditional burritos, tacos and salads, O’Connor said.
“The avocado is definitely being seen as a healthy, fun, trendy food, and we want restaurants to understand the opportunity by using avocados as an up-charge item,” he said.
Chefs are looking for new uses for avocados because diners are asking for creative ideas, said Mary Ostlund, marketing director for Brooks Tropicals LLC in Homestead, Fla.
“North Americans are obsessed with finding new flavors and tastes,” Ostlund said.
Sometimes the idea is simple, such as putting a slice of avocado on a burger, said Dan Acevedo, business development director with West Pak Inc. in Murietta, Calif.
“They continue to be a component in several dishes, whether it’s a salad or a main entrée,” he said. “Subway has done a great job promoting menu items that feature avocados.”
Any promotion is good for the entire industry, said Ross Wileman, vice president of sales and marketing with Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce Inc.
“I’m not sure we’ll ever reach the white-tablecloth level, though,” he said. “Fast-casual is the category it seems to do well in.”