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AFM launches AVOLAB with great fanfare, celebrates 10th anniversary

By
John Groh

IRVING, TX – Avocados from Mexico held a celebration Oct. 3 at its headquarters, here, to launch its AVOLAB culinary innovation center and recognize its 10th anniversary as a leading marketing organization of the beloved fruit for which it is named.

Attended by a smattering of media representatives from both trade and consumer outlets, as well as executives and staff from AFM, the intimate event featured avocado-inspired dishes curated by celebrity chef Pati Jinich, cookbook author and host of the popular PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table, who was also in attendance.

AFM President Alvaro Luque chats with Pati Jinich, AFM brand ambassador, cookbook author and host of the popular PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table, during the Oct. 3 launch of AVOLAB in Irving, TX.
AFM President Alvaro Luque chats with Pati Jinich, AFM
brand ambassador, cookbook author and host of the
popular PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table, during the Oct.
3 launch of AVOLAB in Irving, TX.

AVOLAB occupies a portion of the eighth floor of a high-rise building where AFM is headquartered, with views of downtown Dallas in the distance.

In remarks to attendees, AFM President Alvaro Luque noted that the culinary center opened six years ago and has been extremely successful, having been used for recipe development and client meetings. He pointed out that the reconfigured space now has three distinct areas: a lab, with work stations designed for recipe development and demos; and event space for meetings and receptions; and a bar, “where the fun happens.”

“Avocados from Mexico is based on creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, and that is what this center is all about,” said Luque, who added that AVOLAB is the only certified location in the world for avocado recipe development. He said in total, more than 130 chefs have been certified on site, and approximately 3,000 retail and foodservice professionals have received certifications through Avocado University, AFM’s online education program.

In introducing Jinich as a guest of honor, Luque said she “represents everything that we are: grounded in the Hispanic world, but located in the U.S., just like us.”

Jinich, in her remarks, lauded avocados as a fruit “that makes everything better,” and she called AVOLAB “an inspiration.”

She also said avocados are the most symbolic of Mexican foods. “It’s like the Mexican heart, with emotion, but also versatile and adaptable, and can enrich any cuisine.”

Luque reflected on the 10 years of success for AFM, and recalled that “no one believed we could create a brand, but now we are responsible for $11 billion” in economic output, and added that AFM has largely been behind the growing popularity of the fruit due to its innovation and creativity in marketing.

He said that the celebration would continue later this month at the IFPA Global Produce & Floral Show in Anaheim, CA. Always a highlight of the expo, AFM will have an even larger presence this year, with a 50x60-foot booth on the show floor and a media event to commemorate the organization’s first decade.

Top photo: Ana Ambrosi, director of corporate communications for AFM; Stephanie Bazan, senior vice president of commercial strategy and execution for AFM; AFM President Alvaro Luque; and Pati Jinich of the popular PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table, cut the ribbon to formally launch the opening of AVOLAB.

John Groh

John Groh

About John Groh  |  email

John Groh graduated from the University of San Diego in 1989 with a bachelors of arts degree in English. Following a brief stint as a sportswriter covering the New York Giants football team, he joined The Produce News in 1995 as an assistant editor and worked his way up the ranks, becoming publisher in 2006. He and his wife, Mary Anne, live in northern New Jersey in the suburbs of New York City.

 

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