Business updates: Chilean Avocados - The Packer

Business updates: Chilean Avocados

09/09/2011 10:37:00 AM
Amelia Freidline


Calavo expands Chilean acreage
Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif., has expanded its Chilean avocado acreage and has taken its Chilean program “back to the fundamentals” by dealing directly with growers rather than exporters, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing. 
The company is part owner of Calavo de Chile, Santiago, and is working to show growers exactly how the avocado market operates and how returns are generated, just as the company has done in California.
Product is packed under the Calavo label, which means it is shipped under controlled-atmosphere conditions so that when it arrives in Los Angeles and New Jersey, it has maintained its freshness, Wedin said.
“It adds cost, but we and grower are willing to accept it,” he said.
The company also has been able to integrate its Chilean fruit into the company’s Pro-RipeVIP program and consumer bagging program. Nearly half of Calavo’s Chilean avocados are pre-ripened or bagged.
Giumarra Agricom expands packing shed
Giumarra Agricom International LLC, Escondido, Calif., will distribute Chilean avocados from its expanded packinghouse in Ventura, Calif., this fall, said Bruce Dowhan, general manager.
The new facility, which includes cold storage space, was built to accommodate growers in California’s northern avocado growing region and will complement distribution facilities in Texas, on the East Coast and in Los Angeles and Escondido. 
Giumarra Agricom, is a partnership between Giumarra and Agricom, a leading grower-exporter based in Santiago, Chile, Dowhan said.
The company received its first load of Chilean avocados the second week of August and plans to offer them through February.
Hass Avocado Board relaunches website
The Irvine, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board relaunched its website — — in late July, said Jose Luis Obregon, executive director.
The new site is more consumer friendly, easier to navigate and features “a robust recipe section,” he said 
The board also has a new logo that brings out its new image — that the board is approachable, friendly, engaging and something consumers can easily relate to.
The Hass Avocado Board also beefed up its Facebook campaign by giving a Fan of the Week an avocado cutter.
“The number of fans dramatically increased — from 5,000 to 18,000 since we started this campaign,” Obregon said.
The site is a way for the board to reach out to consumers and potential consumers with recipes, usage suggestions and “how-to” tips, he said.
Obregon announced in early September plans to resign by the end of October as president of the Hass Avocado Board to become president of IPR Fresh, Nogales, Ariz. IPR Fresh is owned by his brothers. Obregon has been with the Hass Avocado Board for six years. He started as managing director of information technology and became executive director in 2007.
Index Fresh to add reusable containers
Index Fresh, Bloomington, Calif., continues to be one of the largest avocado importers out of Chile, said president Dana Thomas, who estimates that up to 40% of the company’s volume is sourced from Chile. 
Product is distributed from California, Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania.
The company also has a large bagging program and plans to increase its reusable plastic container program this season as major customers switch to RPCs, Thomas said.
Index Fresh this year is taking advantage of added efficiencies brought about by the completion last year of a two-year remodeling of its packinghouse facilities that has enabled the firm to double its production and enhance repacking and bagging capabilities, Thomas said. 
The company now can pack RPCs efficiently at the same time it packs cardboard containers.

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