With the growth of smart phones and accompanying apps, quick-response codes are starting to fill an important social media marketing role, some avocado marketing agents say.

The Irvine-based California Avocado Commission is using codes, said Jan DeLyser, the organization’s vice president of marketing.

“This year, we feature California avocado advertising in the bread aisle, and there are recipes posted, and QR codes on those that will take the consumer to a recipe,” DeLyser said.

QR codes provide instant communication to consumers who need information that may close a deal on an impulse sale, DeLyser noted.

“It’s further information at the point of purchase that can provide ideas on the spot, to give the consumer ideas,” she said. “To get the information to the consumer at the point of purchase helps generate more sales.”

For some marketers, QR codes are new enough technology that they are still trying to figure out how best to use them.

“We do QR codes, but we’re still trying to figure out what niche they play,” said Ross Wileman, vice president of sales & marketing for Oxnard, Calif.-based Mission Produce Inc.

Putting a code on an individual piece of fruit is a challenge, Wileman said, but Mission Produce uses them on some bags.

The Chilean Avocado Importers Association, Washington, D.C., is expanding its use of QR codes, said Maggie Bezart, marketing director with the association.

“All of our point-of-sale materials app to our QR programs,” she said.

It meshes well with the association’s social media efforts, Bezart said.

“We found we got great interaction with the consumer, and the QR code program is a part of that, driving them to our program each month,” Bezart said.

QR codes provide a venue for instant feedback, which is a key social-media strength, said Mary Ostlund, marketing director with Coral Gables, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals LLC.

“We’re visible and vocal when needed,” Ostlund said.

Consumers often use Facebook as they would a search engine, and QR codes function much the same way in helping them find answers quickly, Ostlund said.