Conversations at United - Aaron with Villita
Aaron Acosta, corporate relationship manager for Villita Avocados, talks with The Packer's retail editor Ashley Nickle. ( The Packer )

Pharr, Texas-based Villita Avocados plans to debut in mid-July a guacamole product line under its We Love Guac label.

The company, which markets hass avocados from Mexico and Peru, recently built a processing facility next to its packinghouse in Michoacán and just received certification to import products made there to the U.S., said Aaron Acosta, corporate relationship manager for Villita.

With input from the Rodriguez family, who founded the company, Villita created a traditional guacamole recipe as the base of the program, then added mild and spicy versions to provide options for retailers in different parts of the U.S. The guacamole comes in packs of single-serve, 2-ounce cups to minimize prep time at home or to take on the go.

Acosta said consistency was a key component of the product that Villita designed to be different from other guacamole options.

“We looked at every opportunity as keeping the avocado consistency as original as possible,” Acosta said. “Some of it required us to modify some existing equipment or actually having equipment built to get the consistency that we wanted.

“We wanted to make sure it didn’t have a purée consistency, that when you opened the container that there was actual chunks of avocado and tomato and the cilantro, that it would look (like) or rival a store-made product, with an expanded shelf life so that people would feel comfortable knowing that if they purchased it and they didn’t get to celebrate that special event that one weekend, that 10 days later it would still be as fresh,” Acosta said.

High-pressure processing provides the longer shelf life and food safety for the product.

The We Love Guac product line was the focus for Villita at its virtual booth at United Fresh Live! Acosta described the experience of connecting with people at the show as more centralized and more focused.

“Via the chat rooms, you can have a one-on-one audience and kind of, maybe not shut out the ambient noise, but it becomes like a true conversation via text,” Acosta said. “I find it works very, very well when you want to discuss specifics or possibilities of working on a project together, without interfering with all the other communications going on in and around the booth.”

He noted that, in that sense, it is easier to give individuals more time in a virtual format than at an in-person show, where the hustle and bustle makes relaxed or longer conversations more difficult.

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