( File photo )

Versatility is a retail promotional bonanza for Florida avocados, suppliers say. Retailers are best-served by providing shoppers with usage ideas and choices, they said.

“Multiple displays, giving avocado aficionados a choice,” is how Mary Ostlund, marketing director at Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals Inc., put it.

Salad displays are where Florida avocados excel, Ostlund said.

“They’re perfect to toss in or toss on top of a leaf salad,” she said. “Creamy salads get extra avocado credit with a Florida avocado acting as a delicious bowl.”

Retailers also should note that Florida avocados also works as an alternative to mayonnaise, Ostlund said.

“Mayo’s alternative is avocado’s next horizon that gathered steam with avocado toast,” she said. “Florida avocados deliver a great light avocado taste to spread almost anywhere.”

Florida avocados peak as grilling season is getting underway, which presents additional promotional opportunities, Ostlund said.

“Florida avocados love the heat; they’re great hot off the grill,” she said. “Slice into quarters and keep the skins on.”  

Brooks Tropicals markets Florida avocados as SlimCados, Ostlund said.

“Consumers reach for this brand they love or reach because they’re tempted to try a new avocado that’s huge,” Ostlund said. 

“There are some that will think that’s a lot of avocado for a snack, but SlimCados have more staying power — less browning with a little wrapping. Others will think, ‘With this huge avocado I won’t have to cut up so many hass for a guacamole,’ so you’ve got a wide playing field of Florida buyers that buy for different reasons.”

Retailers ought to keep the fruit available and visible in multiple places, Ostlund said.

“Don’t fence Florida avocados in; give them more than one display,” she said.

Pricing also can be an advantage, said Jessie Capote, executive vice president and co-owner of Miami-based J&C Tropicals.

“Promotional pricing tied up to retail programs weeks in advance usually tied to holidays and other calendar dates,” he said. 

“Merchandise them front and center in the produce aisle. We’re also experimenting with independent bins scattered throughout the store.”

Marketing strategies for Florida green-skin Florida avocados differ from those for the hass variety coming primarily from Mexico and California, Capote said.

“You get a lot more value out of a green-skin avocado simply because there is more fruit to consume by the piece,” Capote said. 

“A green-skin avocado can feed a family of four, while a hass is consumed sometimes by one or two family members, at most.”

Louie Carricarte, president and owner of Homestead-based Unity Groves Corp., agreed.

“Florida avocados offer more value,” he said. “They are significantly larger than hass and are healthier, containing less fat.”

It is important to tailor promotions to the needs of individual clients, said Eddie Caram, general manager of Princeton, Fla.-based grower-shipper New Limeco LLC.

“We are trying to work very close with buyers to give promotional time period with price and volume,” he said.