AFM launches AVOLAB with great fanfare, celebrates 10th anniversary
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.
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: Cutting the ribbon to officially open AVOLAB during the Oct. 3 celebration were 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, AFM brand ambassador, cookbook author and host of the popular PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table.)
Surrounding a one-of-a-kind avocado-inspired cake were Pati Jinich, AFM brand ambassador, cookbook author and host of the popular PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table; Ana Ambrosi, director of corporate communications for AFM; Stephanie Bazan, senior vice president of commercial strategy and execution for AFM; and AFM President Alvaro Luque.
Avo-sliders were one of the avocado-inspired dishes served at AFM’s 10th anniversary celebration and opening of AVOLAB, Oct. 3 in Irving, TX. In addition to avo-sliders, the menu included a guacamole bar with four different varieties, avocado-ahi poke cones, and avocado soft-serve ice cream. Dishes were curated by Pati Jinich, AFM brand ambassador, cookbook author and host of the popular PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table.
Also in attendance at AFM’s celebration was GuacBot, which brings the good times with AI. GuacBot has been part of AFM brand activations including IFPA and SXSW. Among her super powers are the ability to tell your fortune (she always sees good things in the future) and she can also start an impromptu dance party.