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Peru has robust avocado plans moving forward

By
Tim Linden

The Peruvian Avocado Commission, and its Avocados from Peru marketing  brand, has robust plans for Peru-sourced avocados in the United States this year and beyond.

Xavier Equihua, CEO and president of the commission, revealed in late May that Peru had increased its forecast and is expecting to market between 240 million and 250 million pounds in the U.S. market this year. That would represent about a 30 percent increase in volume over 2021 and the greatest volume of Peruvian avocados shipped to the United States since they began more than a decade ago.

Though shipments started in March, the bulk of this year’s U.S. volume will be marketed from mid-June through early October.

Equihua said there is “no question that Peru is a very important player in the avocado market  in the United States this summer.” He noted that Peru will be a major summer supplier and its crop will be supported by a strong promotional effort. He added that because the summer is when Peruvian avocados shine, that is when PAC makes the most “noise” to continue the promotion of avocados that other associations operating under the Federal promotion program for avocados began earlier in the season.

“In reality, we all complement each other [with our promotions],” he said. “It’s good for all of us and good for the industry to have what is a seamless marketing presence regardless of origin all year-round.”

Soaring demand
Equihua said demand for avocados in the United States continues to increase, which is reflective in the very strong f.o.b. prices that avocado shippers have received from U.S. buyers all year long. “I expect avocado sales in the United States to reach 3 billion pounds [annually] in 2023 as they will easily reach 2.8 billion to 2.9 billion in 2022, and Peru will play an important role in helping to achieve that level of sales,” he said.

Peru continues to be the major supplier of avocados to Europe, sending about two-thirds of its annual volume to that market, which it is largely responsible for developing especially since over 70 percent of the promotions conducted in the old continent are paid by Peru.

In total, Peru is expecting to market more than 1 billion pounds worldwide this year. Equihua said Europe has understandable issues this year and the United States will undoubtedly continue to be a very important and strategic market for avocados from Peru .

The PAC executive expects Peru’s exports to the United States to continue to gradually increase as U.S. demand increases. He noted that Peru’s peak volume is in the summer, which is when Mexico’s volume is at its low ebb. And although California’s volume can last through the summer, it just does not produce enough fruit to quell the increasing demand.

Equihua said Peru’s marketing plan this season will  be expanded to include the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and East Coast, and for the first time a good percentage of its avocados will also be sold in the Southwest, including Texas, Arizona and California.

Peru will have a strong presence in the market utilizing many different strategies, including a more robust media buy to provide retailers with more tagged media options; a fortified e-coupon program to help more consumers enjoy avocados this summer; an in-store multi-channel digital program with many retailers; and an assortment of classic display assets, such as bins and point-of-sale materials.

But Equihua said AFP will also increase its visibility by employing unique tactics that have been at the core of its marketing strategy for the past several years.

Eat Healthy and Drive Green
This year, the promotional group will be giving away a Peruvian-avocado-themed electric car in what it is calling the “2022 Avo Tesla Summer Sweepstakes Giveaway.”

PAC is launching this promotion in partnership with Meijer and other retailers. Equihua said Peru’s strategic retail partners will host separate sweepstakes in different regions of the country to promote and spread the message of the campaign: Eat Healthy and Drive Green.

“The key pillar of this giveaway is to encourage healthy and sustainable living as consuming avocados from Peru provides benefits to the body and the environment – just as electric vehicles cut down on pollution and carbon emissions,” he said.

Continuing its effort to link Peruvian avocados with good health and sustainability practices, AFP will also sponsor an “AVO Bike Social Media Contest” in partnership with Washington, DC, and Philadelphia public transit agencies. The social media contest will feature the awarding of electric bikes wrapped in avocado skin print to lucky winners living in those cities. This will be advertised at local bikeshare stations.

In addition, AFP will employ public bus banners in the two cities to tout its bike and car giveaway programs. “It’s really important for us to use public transportation options, alongside healthy eating, to encourage others to be environmentally forward and health-conscious,” Equihua noted.

He added that all Peru’s promotions connect healthy eating with healthy living. Driving a Tesla is good for the environment as is riding a bike. “Just like avocados; they are good for you and good for the environment,” he said.

Expanding partnerships
Avocados from Peru is expanding its media partnership with NBC, Telemundo and FOX to include more than 70 media markets including the top 10 markets in the U.S.  It will also be a local sponsor of top programming that includes the MLB All-Star Game, Gordon Ramsey’s “MasterChef,” “America’s Got Talent,” and the Latino Billboard Music Awards.

PAC will use these opportunities to promote avocados from Peru’s health and environmental benefits, as well as the Tesla giveaway.

Educational mesh bags
Another promotional asset that Peru has developed for use by growers, shippers and distributors of avocados from Peru is a signature display bag. Equihua calls these “educational mesh bags,” which utilize the real estate on a bag of avocados to inform consumers about Avocados from Peru.

For the first time ever, Equihua said this season will also feature an educational mesh bag for organic avocados – a first for the category for an origin to offer a dedicated mesh bag for this growing sub-category product.

Another promotional effort involves consumer coupons. PAC is re-introducing its e-coupon program at many retail outlets across the U.S. “Considering the lasting economic effects of the past two years, and the current level of inflation, the coupons and our other promotional efforts will continue to provide much needed support to consumers across America,” said Equihua.

PAC’s president and CEO also touted a research study that PAC recently commissioned with professors and researchers from the University of California-Davis and California State University-Sacramento to conduct on behalf of PAC.

The study is being designed to examine the health and economic impact of avocados as compared to their water usage. The project will compare the avocado’s impact with the top 10-12 agricultural commodities.

Tim Linden

Tim Linden

About Tim Linden  |  email

Tim Linden grew up in a produce family as both his father and grandfather spent their business careers on the wholesale terminal markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Tim graduated from San Diego State University in 1974 with a degree in journalism. Shortly thereafter he began his career at The Packer where he stayed for eight years, leaving in 1983 to join Western Growers as editor of its monthly magazine. In 1986, Tim launched Champ Publishing as an agricultural publishing specialty company.

Today he is a contract publisher for several trade associations and writes extensively on all aspects of the produce business. He began writing for The Produce News in 1997, and currently wears the title of Editor at Large.

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