Vicky BoydDave Fausset, sales and category manager for Mission Produce Inc., shows off a portable tree display that can be used for bagged avocados in the produce department or other departments, such as deli or the chip aisle.Healthful messages about avocados have resonated well with consumers, spurring increased consumption and purchases.
By carrying a variety of sizes and packs, having multiple displays and devoting more space to the fruit, retailers can boost overall category sales even further, say importers, marketers and shippers of Mexican avocados.
“Avocados are very promotable, so it’s something that people like to see pushed, and they’re able to react,” said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and fresh marketing for Santa Paula, Calf.-based Calavo Growers Inc. “You get significant increase in sales volume, so the retailers like to promote avocados.”
In 2012, total U.S. sales volumes of hass avocados grew by 35%, and total sales dollars rose by 10.2%, said Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Irvine, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board.
“Price was only down an average of 18%,” he said. “Retailers should look at their 2012 results and compare them to the national average.”
Having production in Mexico that complements supplies from California, Peru and Chile, keeps avocados in the produce department and in front of consumers year round, said Gahl Crane, director of avocado sales for Green Earth Produce, Vernon, Calif.
“Retailers are able to get aggressive on pricing with the increased supplies,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities. I think the No. 1 take-home message is just the reliable supply.”
Having a strong avocado program also enhances sales elsewhere in the store, said Dave Fausset, sales and category manager for Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif.
“The retail ring that you get with people purchasing avocados is much higher than if they’re not (purchasing them,)” he said. “When you’re buying avocados, you’re buying many other things to go with them.”
At the retail level, Wedin said he believed the best way to increase sales is to have ripe fruit available on a consistent basis. Applying stickers that say “ripe” also alerts consumers that the fruit is ready to use.
“That’s what people are really looking for,” Wedin said. “We find that some of our most successful retail customers are ones that are on a consistent 100% ripe program.”
To be able to provide that type of fruit to retailers, Calavo has several ripening facilities scattered throughout the country.