Marketers target college students

08/10/2012 01:22:00 PM
Jim Offner

Avocado marketers are working to build an audience for their product among college students.

“We’ve had a lot of activity with colleges and universities,” said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission, Irvine.

“They’re looking for nutritious options that are versatile,” DeLyser said.

The Washington, D.C.-based Chilean Avocado Importers Association agrees, and the association is trying to move as many avocados onto college cafeteria menus, said Xavier Equihua, chief executive officer.

“They’re the future consumers, and we’ve worked with young consumers before,” Equihua said, noting that the association had run a program with the American Youth Soccer Association for several years.

“It was a successful program, and it was an appropriate way to teach active young people about the benefits of avocados,” Equihua said.

Promoting avocados among young people, who often are fed glitzy marketing messages from junk-food companies, isn’t easy, and it requires patience, Equihua said.

But, he added, it’s worth the effort and the millions of dollars spent on promotions.

DeLyser agreed the educational process is slow, but she said it has made progress, particularly in school settings.

“School foodservice has had some inroads, and we’re working to educate school foodservice personnel on how to handle the product to make sure they can be successful in having avocados on their menus,” she said.

Equihua said college-age appetites are a natural target for Chile’s fall-winter season.

“The window is more condensed, from mid-October through March,” he said.

College students are amenable to the product, he added.

“It’s a natural to be on college campuses, especially now, when colleges are offering healthier fare on their menus, and avocados are a perfect fit,” he said.

He also said college students are more aware of what they need to eat in order to maintain good health.

“You see a lot more salad bars in college cafeterias, and you also have offerings like turkey sandwiches with avocados, which are becoming a staple,” he said. “Colleges are one of those frontiers for avocados.”



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