Despite delays at the beginning of the California avocado season, shippers should once again shatter the volume record for the Super Bowl Feb. 7.
U.S. consumers are expected to eat about 139 million pounds of avocados in the run-up to and on Super Bowl Sunday, up 13% from the 2015 game, according to an estimate from the Mission Viejo, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board.
“It’s going to be a very, very strong Super Bowl again. Mexico is going full speed,” said Emiliano Escobedo, the board’s executive director.
Mexico will likely account for about 95% of this year’s shipments in the weeks leading up to the game, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif.
California was expected to get off to an earlier start this season, but a rainy start to winter has complicated those plans, Wedin said.
“Even though California volumes will be up significantly this year, it probably won’t play a big role in the Super Bowl.”
Mexican volumes were up considerably over last year in October, November and December, and Wedin doesn’t see that changing anytime soon.
“We’re definitely planning on maximum capacity in Michoacan.”
The mix of sizes also should be better as the Super Bowl nears, Wedin said. Fruit has been trending large thus far this season, with plenty of 32s, 36s and 40s to promote.
“It won’t be like normal, but it will flatten out a bit.”
Field reports from Michoacan on fruit set to ship in January indicate good growing conditions and good quality for the Super Bowl, Wedin said.
A big promotional push by Dallas-based trade group Avocados from Mexico will help build demand for the Super Bowl, Wedin and Escobedo said.
For the second Super Bowl in a row, the group will run an ad during the TV broadcast. The ad is set to run during the first break of the game. The organization’s 2015 ad ranked second on Adobe’s Second Screen top ten list.
Avocados from Mexico has stepped up its game across the board, not just in advertising, Wedin said. The group’s staff has built closer relations with customers and helped retailers build more and better displays.
“AFM’s funding has continued to climb, and the maturity of the programs has gotten better and better.”
Escobedo said the marketing support behind the Super Bowl has been a successful joint effort.
“The ad and promotional activity by AFM and the industry in general has been quite massive, and it’s going to drive demand.”