Mike HornickMegan Shanley, director of sales and marketing for Shanley Farms, shows off Gator Eggs on April 3 at Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention and trade show in Vancouver, British Columbia.Something of a gender gap emerged in early reaction to Shanley Farms’ newest product, Gator Eggs — single-serve avocados in an egg carton-like package.
“Our marketing is targeted toward professional women,” said Jim Shanley, owner of the Morro Bay, Calif.-based grower-shipper. “In a trade show environment, we’re finding that 80% or more of women immediately grasp the concept and like it. Men are slower to come around. They’ll say, ‘I don’t know; looks like a lot of packaging.’ We do get enthusiasm from male buyers ordering the product. But appreciation for the ideas behind it is more widespread among women.”
One of those ideas is having six single-servings — or size 84 avocados — in a pack, each for use with a different sandwich, salad or snack. Each has fewer than 100 calories.
“When a guy like me goes to the store and sees something he likes, he thinks, ‘Ah, I want some of that,’” Shanley said. “Women see it and say, ‘I can give that to Johnny after he gets home from school; I can put that in a salad or someone’s sandwich.’ That’s not what I’m thinking. It’s not about the other people; it’s caveman see, caveman want.”
As Shanley sees it, the egg carton look of the packaging is more than a marketing tool.
“We don’t have any quantitative evidence or a year of results to look back on,” he said April 8, “but our packaging does protect the fruit better.”
“Because it individually isolates each avocado, it’s essentially a way to deliver an avocado from the packinghouse,” he said. “When that box is closed, it’s not like having it loose in a bag or a batch of bags. If you’ve gotten a bag of avocados from the bottom of a box of avocados, it’s not the one you want.”
The company showed Gator Eggs at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention and Trade Show in Vancouver April 2-4.
“We’ve got 15 to 20 chains that are doing everything from stocking all their stores to doing test pallets, picking three or four stores and running marketing tests,” Shanley said.
One retailer, he said, planned to run an Easter ad linking Easter eggs to the produce department through a Gator Eggs promotion.