While grower-shippers report a bumper Chilean avocado crop this year, many of them show much enthusiasm about the numerous marketing efforts for the coming season.
“Now that we have a big crop we must promote the fruit so it moves fast along the markets,” said, Adolfo Ochagavía, president of the Chilean Hass Avocado Committee, Santiago, and director of the Chilean Avocado Importers Association, Washington D.C. “Therefore, we must create new promotions.” 

Not only is a larger crop expected for the 2009-10 season but also a corresponding budget for developing and executing a strong marketing campaign.

Maggie Bezart, marketing director for the Chilean Avocado Importers Association (CAIA), said “We set a budget based on the estimated volume. This season we estimate 310 million pounds of Chilean avocados to be exported to U.S., august through February as oppose to the 180 million pounds that were exported last year.” 

Bezart said this year there is a far broader campaign with a total estimated CAIA budget of $6.6 million to include a consumer/retail spot media program worth $2.8 million that includes advertising in radio, TV and outdoor billboards and a retail campaign of $1.88 million to promote with our valued costumers.

On June 9, the Chilean Avocado Importers Association held its 2009-10 Chilean season kickoff meeting to present to its members an overview of the complete marketing strategy and promotion programs for the up-coming season.

“We basically presented the logistics of the program and where we would be targeting these promotions this season,” Bezart said.

Doug Meyer, vice president of sales and marketing for West Pak Avocado Inc., Temecula, Calif., said there is a very strong marketing effort under way with the Chilean avocado team.

“My entire sales team attended the meeting, and it was great to hear about all the great promotions they are doing not just in retail, but also in food service,” he said.

Robert Lucy, president of Del Rey Avocado Co., Fallbrook, Calif., said, “Maggie Bezart’s presentation was excellent.

“She brought her staff and presented to us TV and radio commercials that are going after the consumer. There is a great deal of money being spent,” he said. 

Phil Henry, president of Henry Avocado Corp., Escondido, Calif., also attended the meeting and said the campaign should be very affective because the CAIA is focused on giving support and assistance to retailers in markets throughout the U.S.

The CAIA’s marketing efforts include a wide array of educational and promotional campaigns that will start in early September.

“When the break-bulk vessels with a capacity to carry 200 truckloads hit the U.S. in the end of August, that is when the programs will start at the retail level, spot TV and radio, as well as billboards, consumer and produce manager contest and in-store retail specific promotions. These will begin to hit the stores in time for Labor Day ads,” Bezart said.

With normal avocado volumes back in track, marketers and grower-shippers are optimistic that the fruit will do well this season.

Dana Thomas, president of Index Fresh Inc., Bloomington, Calif., said the overall message is that after the freeze the industry had a couple of smaller years, giving enough time for the trees to recover. This season, it is the first chance to do something creative and fun that will move the Chilean volume at the retail level.

“I’m very excited about having excellent quality avocados from Chile in volumes that are promotable, Bezart said. “This is an opportunity in the U.S. for a continuous increase for fall and winter consumption.”

Not only is there a strong marketing campaign expected for the U.S., but also Chilean Hass Avocado Committee is planning to target Europe and Latin America.

Ochagavía said the committee plans to continue running a campaign in the United Kingdom for a 5th year and in Spain and Denmark for a second year
“As far as Latin America is concerned, we will have strong presence in Argentina, and we will also target our national market, Chile, for the eighth year in a row,” he said.

Ochagavía said total Chilean exports are expected to be between 180,000 and 190,000 tons.