High-pressure processing ideal for guacamole lovers

08/15/2011 01:59:00 PM
Dan Gailbraith

It’s now easy to find fresh guacamole products in snack and party sizes near other value-added produce items.

High-pressure technology cold-pasteurizes and extends shelf life. Products still need to be refrigerated and should be maintained at 34 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc.’s recommendations.

Calavo guarantees retailer customers 45 days of shelf life.

Calavo-brand guacamole is available in 8- and 12-ounce overwrapped trays. Varieties are Authentic, Pico de Gallo and Caliente.

Calavo plans to introduce a new product, avocado hummus, in August, said Al Ahmer, vice president of sales and production, Calavo Foods division. The product is lightly spiced with garlic, pepper and serrano pepper and contains avocados and chickpeas.

It’s a blend of cuisines that produces a healthful and good-tasting snack, dip or spread, Ahmer said.

Avocado hummus samplings should get the product moving.

“We feel confident if we can get a consumer to try our guacamole, avocado hummus or salsa, that person will buy it again,” Ahmer said.

Avocado hummus will be available for foodservice usage in one-pound pouches, and retail packs will be 12-ounce rigid plastic tray packs with four-color overwrap, Ahmer said.

Ahmer said Calavo would like to see the avocado hummus positioned next to guacamoles in the produce section.

Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce Inc.’s ultra-high-pressure processed guacamole is a growth item, said Ross Wileman, vice president of sales and marketing.

Mission sells Mr. Avocado-brand chunky, mild and spicy guacamoles in 7- and 14-ounce packages. It also markets Frontera-brand all-natural guacamole mix of tomatillos, lime juice, cilantro and seasonings. Consumers just add avocados to it to make fresh guacamole.

“Frontera guacamole mix definitely supports and supplements the category,” Wileman said.

Fresherized Foods, Fort Worth, Texas, plans to promote its Wholly Guacamole-brand products this fall with a campaign tied to the rerelease of Disney’s The Lion King movie on DVD, said Tracey Altman, vice president of marketing.

In September and October, Fresherized plans to offer a $5 rebate on Wholly Guacamole snack packs and 7-ounce packets with the purchase of a DVD of The Lion King.

“We’re excited … for the back-to-school period, to talk to moms about adding guacamole and avocados to their kids’ lunches,” Altman said.

Fresherized will support the campaign with social media and outreach to “mommy bloggers” about the health benefits and convenience of guacamole and avocados, she said. The message will focus on parents making healthful food choices for children.

Wholly Guacamole’s avocado products come in Classic, Spicy, Organic, Guacamole Salsa, Pico de Gallo Style, and Double Dip, which is Guacamole topped with spicy pico de gallo. Retail prices range from about $2.99 to $5.99, according to the size and retailer. There are 7-ounce, 14-ounce and club-size packs. The Double Dip comes in a 16-ounce tray. Classic and Spicy guacamoles are available in Snack Packs, which are three packs of 2-ounce pouches.

Altman said the company is seeing the most growth in the sales of its Snack Packs. It introduced the Wholly Guacamole Spicy Snack Packs earlier this year.

Altman said there is a growth in U.S. consumer demand for spicy products.

Fresherized distributes coupons for its products to consumers who register online for its monthly newsletter. It also publishes coupons for holidays and at other times.

“Coupons drive trials,” Altman said.

Calavo packs chunky fresh avocado pulp for foodservice uses, Ahmer said.

Restaurants start with the pulp as a base, then add spices and other ingredients for guacamole or other dishes.

Ahmer said Calavo is seeing more types of restaurants as well as schools and other noncommercial dining facilities adding guacamole to their menus.

Calavo Chunky Hass Avocado Pulp is available in 2-pound pouches.

Interfresh Inc., Fullerton, Calif., markets to foodservice buyers its AvoFresh! fresh avocado pulp that is packed in cases of four 4-pound bags.

It is available year-round, said Brandon Gritters, avocado salesman.

Demand for the pulp increased slightly as fresh avocado prices climbed this summer, he said.



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