Turning up the Avo Volume for Gameday

In a recent interview, Heath Shoup, West Pak’s Sales Manager and self-professed Super Bowl Avocado Man talks about the company’s big game stats and guacamole’s biggest day of the year. 

Q: Two key players in the big game: football and avocados!  How does your team at West Pak prepare for it?

Heath: Like most teams practicing weeks before their games, we do the same thing.  At West Pak, we start preparing three to five weeks before Super Bowl is approaching. We are even thinking about Super Bowl around Christmas time, and we have customers that are already thinking about it too. We are trying to predict what the market is going to do on pricing and where the best advanced pricing is going to be. We start putting out those price quotes working very closely with our sourcing and supply chain to understand what the size curve is going to look like and how much extra fruit we’re going to be able to secure.

I would say for West Pak that our business triples going into Super Bowl. We really have to make sure that our infrastructure is set and that we have a good game plan in place. We also have to make sure that we can handle that amount of volume going through our network. Whether it’s preconditioned or bagged, or lugged,  or special packs – we’ve got to make sure that we’re all on board and that we’re going to be able to sustain that kind of volume for about a two-week period leading up to Super Bowl and into the week of Super Bowl. We need to be able to do those numbers because our customers are running big ad volumes and multiples in the stores.

Q: Super Bowl is the biggest day for avocado consumption in the United States. What is the avocado industry like in the weeks leading up to the big game?

Heath: We’re preparing for weeks. We’ve got Avocados from Mexico who have great promos going on. They have their Super Bowl commercial, and we get a chance to see a partial (preview) of that beforehand. They do a great job on having the marketing bins available to use with some key retailers. So we’re helping key retailers like Target get those bins in the stores, and we’re also setting up product to be ready for them, so they can move those bins.  We’re all just trying to team up and make sure that we are moving the football, in this case – the avocados, in the right direction downfield to score a touchdown,  to make sure we have enough avocados on the shelf for the consumer.

We’re all just trying to team up and make sure that we are moving the football, in this case – the avocados, in the right direction downfield to score a touchdown,  to make sure we have enough avocados on the shelf for the consumer.

Q: How does your team at West Pak assure your clients have enough avocado supply for their customers?

Heath: Being with West Pak for 16 years now, this is my 16th Super Bowl. It’s a lot of fun going into the preparation, and the planning, and the sourcing – so we have the experience much like Tom Brady going into Super Bowl multiple times. It’s the same thing here. We know what’s going to happen, how things are going to play out. You’ve always got the last two minutes of the game where people are going to come in kind of strong for unforeseen sales. So, we’ve got to make sure we are prepped for that as well as way out in advance. We have the long-term guys that are going to run two-week adds and triple their volume. We’ve got to continue to bring that product in and make sure it’s sourced in a timely fashion and in the correct sizes that they need. Then we’ve got to watch out that we’re not going to get overrun at the end of it and have too much supply on hand.

Q: Avocados from Mexico returns for its fifth commercial, of these, do you have a personal favorite?

Heath: I think that they’ve hit them home every year. It’s really great to see their creativity. Avocados from Mexico has always been very good with all of their marketing material; they’re very creative there. They don’t leave anybody short on any commercials! It’s always fun to see… It’s a good pastime not only watching the game but seeing what Super Bowl commercials are out there. It’s also kind of cool to see that Avocados from Mexico is in the same league as some other brands like Coors Light and Budweiser, and being able to support our industry just like all of the other industries out there in the big game.

Q: How do you and your family prepare for the big game?

Heath: Every year we’ve had a Super Bowl party. We get the friends and the family all together, usually at my house, as it’s kind of like a central point for everybody to meet up. Of course, the Shoup family is in charge of bringing the guacamole. Anywhere we go, we always have to bring the guacamole, and we’re happy to do that. We make about three lugs full, so there’s a giant bowl of guacamole, and all of it always gets eaten. We usually have about 40 or 50 people at our house for Super Bowl, and it’s always a fun party!

About Heath

Sales Manager at West Pak Avocado, Heath Shoup is an energetic and hands-on leader with 16 years of operations, sourcing, distributing, and selling experience in the produce industry. Heath specializes in customer service, strategic planning, and team building and uses his wealth of knowledge to help individuals grow and develop within a strong team atmosphere. Get in touch with our team of Avo Experts, today, click here.