Growing in Supermarkets…
Avocados were the fastest growing fresh produce in 2016, according to Nielsen’s “Who’s Buying Your Produce” report, growing at +10%.
It’s interesting to note that unlike the value-added, fresh-cut vegetables category, avocados aren’t particularly convenient to choose, eat or store.
Still, over the longer-term horizon, avocados have been a success story in terms of winning over the US consumer. Statista estimates that avocado consumption grew significantly, up from an estimated 28 million pounds in 2010 to 43 million pounds in 2016, with further growth expected.
Growing in Restaurants…
You’ve probably also noticed avocados are everywhere on restaurant menus—and not only at Mexican restaurants. For example, you’ll find avocados as a value-add to sandwiches, burgers and more. Avocados even become their own star with avocado toast. According to one source, avocado toast became very popular with restaurant chefs starting in 2014. Says diner Amanda Cullen:
“I’m still surprised to see people happily paying $9 for avocado toast with two eggs at First Watch, which is, essentially, nothing more than a mashed up avocado… on toast. But diners love it, so the restaurant has brought it back as a summer special for a couple years now.”
Avocados’ Popularity is a Marketing Success Story
Many factors are cited for the increased popularity of avocados in the US, including savvy long-term marketing and public relations strategies on the part of Mexican and California avocado growers. For instance, Avocados From Mexico hired Jon Lovitz to film this quirky Super Bowl ad in 2017:
According to Scientific American, growers overcame several barriers over the years using both marketing and public relations. These barriers were real challenges, including:
- Consumers not knowing how to use or prepare the product
- Consumers not knowing when the fruit was ripe
- High fat content without recognition of any health benefits
Recent Challenges of Higher Pricing
In recent years, and somewhat predictably, worker strikes and crop shortages have led to increased avocado prices. Some restaurants claim they’ll reduce use; others say they’ll absorb the cost to meet customer demand. In September 2017, the Chicago Tribune reported:
“The average wholesale price for a case of 48 avocados was $83.75…the highest figure on record since the restaurant industry group began tracking the data in 1999.”
Similar to the rise of hummus, which expanded from a niche product to a mainstream success, avocados have grown beyond their Latin American and Mexican food origins. And unlike hummus, avocados are difficult for consumers to select, time-consuming to peel and spoil quickly. So, next time you think your brand has challenges to face, just remember the humble avocado.