California Avocado Season Focus

With spring in the air and the California avocado season in full bloom, there is much to celebrate. With last year’s lighter crop and plentiful rainfall, local trees have a good set for this year’s harvest. For the 2019 California avocado season, 215 million pounds of golden state avocados hit the market, while 2020 is estimated to reach 369 million pounds with an anticipated 60 million pounds each month during the peak season.

In a recent article with AndNowUKnow Produce Industry News, California Avocado Commission (CAC) officially announced the significantly larger crop forecast for this year.

“The current estimate for the 2020 California avocado crop is 70 percent higher than last season. There was plenty of much-welcomed rain last year, which had a positive impact on tree health and this year’s bountiful fruit set,” the article quoted CAC President Tom Bellamore.

“Distribution will be targeted mainly to California and the West, and with greater volume, there may be opportunity this year for customers outside this region who prefer to merchandise California avocados in season,” added CAC Vice President of Marketing Jan DeLyser.

The California avocado season started early in 2020 with some fruit released in time for the Big Game in early February. The momentum will continue building with peak volume from April throughout the summer, with some of the harvest expected to extend slightly beyond September. Naturally, this larger volume is good for business across the board.

In support of this year’s more abundant crop, CAC is evolving its Made of California advertising campaign with new creative and innovative uses of media. DeLyser encourages trade partners to contact their CAC representatives to discuss the opportunity for customized programs during California avocado season.

Also stepping up to the plate for retail, West Pak offers the California Gold brand of bagged avocados that comes with the AHA Heart-Check mark with nutritional and recipe information right on the packaging. And, like any of West Pak’s brands, it comes with the option to customize with the Avo-Opportunities retail program. The in-house creative team design offers personalized packaging, marketing, sales, educational, and retail materials to help a retailer’s sales grow.

The increased California crop comes as a welcome blessing to foodservice as well. According to a Perishable News article, recent research on “California avocados and U.S. foodservice patrons” conducted by Menu Matters discovered that 70% of restaurant patrons across the U.S. identify avocados as a positive component in a dish if “California” is part of the menu item name and/or description. The research goes on to find that most consumers perceive a restaurant offering dishes with California in the name will use fresh ingredients (83%) and source higher-quality ingredients (80%). In comparison, 78% believe the restaurant features consistently high-quality ingredients.

When asked what it means for consumers to buy a California-labeled avocado or see it called out in a menu, West Pak Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Doug Meyer responded, “Consumers think of freshness, flavor, and local. The label signifies a confidence factor that consumers have with California avocados. Confidence that they are going to have a positive and rewarding experience that they have come to know and trust over the years. Each year, when California avocados come into season, there is a genuine air of excitement with consumers, and they cannot wait to start enjoying them all over again.”

So, brace yourself – California is in the midst of an “on” year with volumes to help feed the avo hungry masses with a taste for fruit from the golden state.