Fall avocado business updates

08/10/2012 02:44:00 PM
Jim Offner

Calavo Growers expands packing, cooling facilities

Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc., is undergoing an expansion of its facilities, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing.

The company, for example, is expanding its packing and cooling capacity in Uruadan, Mexico, Wedin said.

Calavo is bringing in a new sizer to handle the main business for the U.S. in the facility, Wedin said.

Chilean Hass Avocado Committee prepares media

The Chilean Hass Avocado Committee, Santiago, is devoting 35% of its budget on a consumer media program this season, said Adolfo Ochagavía, the committee’s president.

“Right now, we are doing fine-tuning to the final activities because they have to be agreed with retailers and other actors of the avocado trade business community in the U.S.,” Ochagavia said.

Chilean Avocado Importers Association to reveal logo

The Chilean Avocado Importers Association, based in Washington, D.C., is unveiling a new logo this year and is a number of new marketing programs planned, said Maggie Bezart, marketing director.

A number of programs are centered on January, which is Avocado Lovers Month, Bezart said, but marketing efforts will cover the entire season, which runs roughly from October through March, she added.

“There’s a display contest, a consumer recipe contest, a chefs contest, dedicating over $30,000 in prize money to consumer throughout our season that will be awarded in January,” she said, noting the association also again will be a co-sponsor of college football’s Fiesta Bowl.

The new logo was finalized in the summer, said Xavier Equihua, the association’s chief executive officer.

Del Rey Avocado to pack Morro Bay avocados

Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc., Fallbrook, Calif., is excited about its late-summer/early fall Morro Bay avocado program, said Bob Lucy, president.

“It’s a group of growers who have joined together and have Del Rey pack the fruit for them and we join them to go to a number of customers across the country,” he said, adding that shipments move from about Labor Day to early November.

The product is packed in a box that stands out from the standard Del Rey carton, Lucy said.

“There’s a number of customers we go to, mostly retail,” he said.

The product comes with a price premium, Lucy noted.

“It eats extremely well,” he said. “The growing season is long, and the fruit has a lot of oil.”

The program is national but is concentrated mostly on the West Coast, Lucy said.

Fresherized Foods to debut nondairy ranch-flavored dip

Saginaw, Texas-based Fresherized Foods Inc., which markets Wholly Guacamole, an item made with fresh avocados, is coming out with two new products this fall, said Jay Alley, vice president of sales.

“We made a nondairy ranch-flavored avocado dip, which comes out in August and available in produce departments,” he said.

The product will be launched nationwide in November, although it will be available on a more limited basis in August and September, he said.

The company also is launching a “homestyle” guacamole, which, according to Tracy Altman, vice president of marketing, is a “chunkier version with tomatoes, serrano peppers and lime.”

Hass Avocado Board compiles nutrition facts

The Irvine, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board has released a compilation of sources that offer information about avocados and weight management, said Emiliano Escobedo, who became the board’s executive director in January.

The board is turning its marketing focus toward the nutritional aspects of avocados from all member growing regions.

The board also is getting ready to release results of a study with UCLA that examines the benefits of half an avocado served with a hamburger, Escobedo said.

“We’re expecting publication of that in the fourth quarter,” he said. “We’re excited about the results, because we think they’re going to be very promising.”

Henry Avocado expands bagging, storage capacity

Escondido, Calif.-based Henry Avocado Corp. is in expansion mode, said Phil Henry, president.

“We’ve been adding to our bagging, our cold storage and our ripening capabilities in anticipation of more volume,” Henry said.

The company has increased its bagging capabilities in the past six months, he said.

“We also added to our cold storage in Southern California,” Henry said, adding that the expansion, equates to about 150 pallets, or about 25% more volume, in cold storage there.

Index Fresh hires staff for food safety, sales

Bloomington, Calif.-based Index Fresh Inc. has added to its staff in the last year, said Giovanni Cavaletto, vice president of operations.

The company hired Nnaemaka Ike as food safety manager.

Keith Blanchard has been hired as a field representative for the company in the San Diego area.

Blanchard, an industry veteran with 18 years in avocados, came to Index Fresh in May from Harvest Time Produce Inc., Oceanside, Calif.

Mexican avocado import group starts TV campaign

The Mexican Hass Avocados Importers Association, Fallston, Md., will spotlight Mexican avocados on “Extra,” a news/entertainment program on the Fox network, said Jackie Bohmer, MHAIA’s marketing director.

It’s part of the association’s fall television campaign, Bohmer said.

The association also will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, with a cooking segment on the Hispanic TV network Univision, Bohmer said.

No dates had been announced by press time.

New Limeco offers flat box with more ventilation

Princeton, Fla.-based grower-shipper New Limeco LLC has introduced a flat box for avocados that offers more ventilation that its predecessor, said Eddie Caram, general manager.

“It offers more shelf life,” he said.

Pacific Trellis Fruit hires avocado program manager

Josh Leichter is running the avocado program for Reedley, Calif.-based Pacific Trellis Fruit LLC out of New Jersey as he gets set to move.

Leichter, a 10-year veteran of the Oppenheimer Group, left that Vancouver, British Columbia-based fruit shipper in early May to join Pacific Trellis Fruit as its general manager.

Leichter has been based on the East Coast as vice president and grape category director Oppenheimer. He left Oppenheimer’s Newark, Del., office April 27 for his new position.

He said he is excited about taking over Pacific Trellis’ avocado program, which had been run by Gahl Crane.

During the upcoming fall avocado season, Pacific Trellis will have a program out of Chile similar in size to last season, Leichter said.

“We’re still active out of Mexico and California. That’s mostly handled out of our Los Angeles office and it’s on cruise control until I get out there,” he said.

Purity Organic taps veteran to run avocado program

Purity Organic/Pacific Organic Produce, based in San Francisco, has hired Mark Sandell to take over its avocado program, said Greg Holzman, the company’s chief executive officer.

Sandell has more than 30 years in the produce business, including 11 years with Stonehill Produce Inc. of Capistrano Beach, Calif.

“We wanted to get smarter about avocados, and we’ve known Mark for 20 years,” Holzman said.

Sandell took up his new position in mid-May, Holzman said.



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