Progressive Grocer

JUN 2016

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168 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | June 2016 Fresh Food Produce Category Spotlight A vocados made headlines last month, when the Food & Drug Admin- istration (FDA) announced it would redefne "healthy" to include good-for-you foods such as avoca- dos, salmon and almonds, which were previously considered too high in fat to meet its criteria. "It's huge — I think it will change the industry dra- matically," exclaims Rick Joyal, national sales manager for Calavo Salsa Lisa and specialty products, with regard to the FDA's decision to update its guidelines for the frst time since the 1990s. "I still have nutritionists approach me at trade shows and say that they try to keep their cus- tomers away from fats, including avocados." In fact, avocados contain "good" fats — both mono- unsaturated and polyunsaturated — which can lower "bad" cholesterol levels and have proved benefcial when consumed in moderation. While Joyal notes that FDA's redefnition will take several years to fnalize, the message that avocados are part of a healthy diet is fnally going mainstream. Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc. ofers a number of new products that play to the health message. It recently launched 2-ounce portion-controlled cups of 90-calorie guacamole. "Two ounces is really that sweet spot," asserts Joyal. "It's enough for a sandwich or a snack." "Labeling avocados as healthy is a very positive step," af- frms Robb Bertels, VP of marketing for Mission Produce Inc., in Oxnard, Calif. "Te consumer perception and understanding of avocados is at a very high point right now, and this will help to maintain the momentum." 'Beyond Guacamole' In addition to the health message, Mission is equally invested in communicating the versatility of avocados. "Core, heavy users of avocados know about the many uses of the product — from avocado toast for breakfast, to salads, to use on sandwiches, and, of course, as guacamole," notes Bertels. "As the perception of avocados as a healthy fruit continues to grow, we feel that nonusers will try avo- cados, and light and medium users will move up the scale and expand their use beyond guacamole." At West Pak Avocado, in Murrieta, Calif., communicat- ing versatility also means ofering the consumer options. "We have made considerable investments in our bagging technology in the last several years," says Marketing Man- ager George Henderson. "With this investment, it gives us a wide range of fexibility to be on the front end of emerg- ing demographics and merchandising trends with our new product and consumer packaging oferings." Ripe and Ready Sell "Ripeness is critical to winning over customers with avoca- dos, from coast to coast," observes Bertels. To that end, Mission's goal is to ofer ripe and ready avocados to its retail partners and consumers on a year-round basis by sourcing from multiple growing regions, including California, Mexico, Peru and Chile. "We also recommend merchandising multicount bags in addition to bulk," suggests Bertels. "Tis gives consum- ers a choice in sizing and level of ripeness. As long as the They're Good for You At long last, avocados get the official nod for nutritional excellence. By Jennifer Strailey

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