Florida's unique avocados have few competitors - The Packer

Florida's unique avocados have few competitors

05/29/2009 01:29:04 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — In the world of avocados, Florida avocados are unique.

They have few direct competitors.

While hass avocados are clearly more popular, and have a larger production and sales base, those West Coast-produced varieties are physically much smaller than the tropical varieties produced in south Florida.

Bill Brindle, vice president of sales management for Brooks Tropicals Inc., said Florida avocados don’t have a lot in common with the hass varieties.

“There’s not a lot of competition between the two,” he said. “I don’t consider hass avocados direct competition, but rather a product that retailers can expand upon by offering SlimCados.”

After all, Brindle said most retailers who are successful selling hass varieties like to expand on that success by carrying Florida avocados, Brindle said.

Doug Ohlemeier
Eddie Caram, general manager of New Limeco LLC, Princeton, Fla., inspects some simmonds variety avocados.

Retailers sometimes merchandise the green-skinned Florida avocados in different areas of the store versus the hass varieties.

Placement, Brindle said, depends on the supermarket.

He said he’s seen them marketed alongside the hass varieties as well as in with other tropicals. Brindle said he’s also seen Florida avocados cross-merchandised with tomatoes and hass avocados.

“We are more of a niche market,” Brindle said. “Our product line complements retailers’ hass lines.”

In terms of geography, because of their familiarity with the Florida variety, some Southeastern retailers prefer to merchandise the Florida avocados in their own sections while most of the rest of the country sells the Florida-grown product alongside hass, Brindle said.

Eddie Caram, general manager of New Limeco LLC, Princeton, agreed the type of displays merchandising Florida’s avocados vary by retailer.

“In most Florida stores and in the Northeast where there are larger portions of the Florida varieties, they usually have bigger displays of big carton bins,” he said.  “Some chain stores carry them in the middle in bins.”

Caram said his retail customers have been supportive of Florida’s deal. He said he listens to them, determines their needs and helps them in supplying volume for promotions and displays.

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