Before the California Avocado Commission (CAC) was established, the only avocados available to consumers were those grown in their local area. The lonely green fruit was just another sparsely populated item in the produce aisle that many overlooked except for guacamole around Cinco de Mayo. Thanks to the establishment of the California Avocado Commission and its tireless advocacy, education, and campaigning, avocados have since earned their place as a favorite heart-healthy superfood.
The Governor of the state of California signed the establishment of the California Avocado Commission into law in 1977. In the summer of 1978, a majority of California avocado growers voted to approve the establishment of the Commission and then promptly elected 15 members to its board of directors. This action granted the Commission permission to oversee advertising, promotion, and market research on behalf of growers. California avocado growers then had the freedom to operate their advertising and promotional programs without the need to seek permission on such matters from the State. The move spurred on a new marketing path that used cross-promotional advertising to tie in with the Commission’s partner products.
After the Commission’s first successful year, CAC Chairman Crawford Teague noted: “The future looks bright indeed. The commission has given our industry the vehicle it needs to advertise and promote our crops properly.”
The Commission has since evolved from a single promotional message to a mission that includes water, labor and legislative advocacy, and production research. The task ensures that California avocado growers have a secure support network to help them sustainably produce and promote the highest quality fruit.
California avocado growers still wrestle with the same perennial weather, pest, and water concerns as they did in the mid-seventies pre-CAC but now face new challenges as they compete in a global avocado market.
“Since 1978, the California Avocado Commission has worked at building a brand, California avocados, with depth and dimension,” stated CAC’s current President Tom Bellamore. “Now, as competition mounts, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that our brand occupies an exclusive position in the consumer’s mind, by creating sustainable points of differentiation that make it the natural brand of choice in an increasing(ly) crowded marketplace.”
Today, targeted retailer partnerships and foodservice chains have become a mainstay in the Commission’s portfolio, and ad campaigns have expanded beyond local print efforts into the digital realm reaching consumers everywhere.
“The Commission is committed to optimizing the grower’s return on assessment dollars entrusted to us and doing everything possible to keep the California avocado industry vibrant, progressive, and prosperous for all growers,” added Bellamore.
As the California Avocado Commission celebrates the 40th anniversary of its first successful year, the Commission proudly remains a leader in the produce industry. And, thanks to CAC, its efforts have successfully cemented California avocados as a premium product.
Blog hero photo credit: California Avocado Commission