Avocados From Mexico plans promo

Irving, Texas-based Avocados From Mexico recently launched its “Made With Love” campaign, featuring four ads that “build on the emotions of consumers with our product and some of our most popular recipes,” said Alvaro Luque, president.

The organization recently signed three “brand ambassadors” — chef Pati Jinich, for general market consumers; chef Maggie Jimenez, for Hispanic consumers; and Barbara Ruhs, as a branded registered dietitian for retail.

AFM also is launching, in November, four websites for general market, Hispanics, trade and foodservice, Luque said.

“All of this on top of our boldest promotional plan ever,” he said.

The organization will have eight promotional programs launching from September to June, he said.

“AFM has the No. 1 brand in the market, with almost 70% share, and we want to be sure we have a plan that reinforces this leading brand and accelerate general category growth of avocados in the U.S.,” Luque said.


Calavo Growers bags in Mexico

Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc. now is bagging avocados in Mexico, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing.

In August, the company started packing about 40,000 pounds of bagged fruit per day in Mexico, Wedin said.

“And we have the ability to double it pretty quickly and quadruple it pretty quickly after that,” he said.

Calavo also is now involved in Fair Trade avocados and is working with Fair Trade USA, Wedin said.

Fair Trade is focused on higher returns to growers, education for their children and building “sustainable” communities, according to the Fair Trade USA website.

“We’re looking forward to a pretty good expansion there, but we’re making sure we take it in steps,” Wedin said.

More than 5% of Calavo’s Mexican avocado production will be Fair Trade-certified, Wedin said.

About 214 growers in Michoacan, Mexico, are participating, and Calavo anticipates more will join, he said.

“The premium is slight but it is a premium,” he said.

Calavo’s Fair Trade avocados, both organic and conventionally grown, are going to Whole Foods and “health food-type customers,” Wedin said.

“There is demand for the product, no doubt about that, but we’re really new at it and taking it in steps,” he said.


Del Rey Avocado expands Gator Eggs

Fallbrook, Calif.-based Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc., which launched single-serving Gator Eggs — a product of Visalia, Calif.-based Shanley Farms — in 2014, will offer the product from its Mexico volume for the first time, beginning in November, said Patrick Lucy, salesman.

Gator Eggs are six size 84 avocados packed in a carton similar to the one used to pack a half-dozen eggs.  

The product is a brainchild of Jim Shanley, owner of Shanley Farms, Lucy said.

It’s available in conventional and organic, he said.

“Gator Eggs have been success, a good way to move a size that’s typically not in demand,” Lucy said.

“It’s allowed us to get more money for our growers and given customers that have taken it another option to get it to consumers.”


Index Fresh sets sights on Asia

Riverside, Calif.-based Index Fresh Inc. is looking to expand its reach into Asia, said Giovanni Cavaletto, vice president of operations.

“We were at Fruit Logistica (a produce expo held in Germany each year) to expand our reach into the Far East,” he said.

Index Fresh has been shipping avocados from Jalisco, Mexico, to Asia for about three years, he said.


Oppenheimer grower honored

Rodrigo Lopez has moved from category analyst to grower relations specialist for avocados with the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Oppenheimer Group, said James Milne, executive category director for avocados.

Lopez was promoted earlier this year, Milne said.

In addition, Javier Medina of Mevi Avocados was chosen as a 2014 Adolf Horn Award recipient honoring young entrepreneurs from Jalisco, Mexico. Oppenheimer markets Mevi Avocados’ fruit.

Oppenheimer also will introduce avocados featuring Oscar the Grouch as part of its Eat Brighter! campaign this season, Milne said.