Cross-promotions are central to the growth of avocado sales and consumption in the U.S., marketing agents say.

Name a food item sold in grocery stores, and it likely makes a good merchandising partner with avocados, said Maggie Bezart, marketing director with the Washington, D.C.-based Chilean Avocado Importers Association.

The group has several cross-promotional efforts going for the upcoming season — including two new ones for this year, she said.

“We will be working Hidden Valley Ranch, (which) will include coupons, signage, contests and social media partnerships and free products,” she said.

Another campaign involves Veramonte Wines of Chile, which will include bottle-neck cards that contain recipes and nutritional info and tear-off tags, as well as displays in a store’s wine section, Bezart said.

In-store product demos are part of the program, as well, she said.

“We’ll also offer special consumer awards through our Avocado Lovers Club specific to the promotion with Veramonte,” she said.

CAIA also is tying its product to college football’s Fiesta Bowl for the third consecutive year.

“Football is such an important promotion at retail, and the department is often focused on football, so tying in with this really brings a lot of attention to avocados to your homegating and tailgating parties,” Bezart said.

Shippers say they like the cross-promotional efforts.

“They can do it with a wide variety of products,” said Dana Thomas, president of Bloomington, Calif.-based Index Fresh Inc.

There are traditional partners, as well, that continue to work in boosting avocado sales, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc.

“Tomatoes would be one of my favorites in that area,” he said.

There are other effective partners in the store, Wedin said.

“You see people who hang avocado bags in the chip aisle, and I’d have to say tomatoes and lemons would be the two big ones,” he said.

Pairing avocados with more than one item at a time, particularly in retail displays, is an effective strategy, said Ed Odron, owner of Ed Odron Produce Marketing Consulting, Stockton, Calif.

“What they do is tie in avocados and tomatoes and also, for those who are pretty sharp, they have bunch basil,” he said.

There also are standard partnerships with dip ingredients, Odron said.

“It works well with so many items,” he said.