Foodservice demand for California avocados growing

July 23, 2012

The California Avocado Commission (CAC) has experienced a growth in demand through foodservice promotions this year.

Examples of promotions throughout this year's California growing season include programs with Baja Fresh, Chipotle (California), Denny's, El Pollo Loco, Ruby's Diner, Sizzler, Sodexo, Subway (Southern California), Which Wich and zpizza.

In the past decade, foodservice chain promotions have gradually grown to dominate the CAC foodservice program, extending Fresh California Avocado awareness and generating new menu applications. CAC estimates that about 30 percent of California's annual crop is sold into foodservice channels, and demand continues to grow.

The CAC connects with chains' marketing and research and development teams who currently serve or are likely to serve Fresh California Avocados, and works with chain culinary teams to create avocado dishes that fit each customer's service and menu profiles.

"This two-pronged approach secured 19 promotions with restaurant chains to date in 2012, with several of the chains adding Fresh California Avocado to their menus for the first time," said Jan DeLyser, CAC vice president of marketing.

In April, El Pollo Loco promoted a limited time offer Avocado Bacon Tostada. The special tostada is the second stage of introducing Fresh California Avocados to the El Pollo Loco menu. Last year, sliced Fresh California Avocado debuted in a burrito and El Pollo Loco offered customers the option to "add Fresh California Avocado to any item."

From April through July 1, California-based zpizza promoted three avocado menu items: California Salad, Mexican Pizza and Pollo Latino Sandwich. Large window posters featured CAC's Hand Grown in California logo. In the fast casual segment, Which Wich encouraged customers to "Pump Up Your Wich" by adding Fresh California Avocado to any sandwich on the menu.

"The California Avocado Commission has marketed to the foodservice industry for decades, and the programs just keep getting better," DeLyser said. "New Fresh California Avocado menu applications in scores of restaurant chains help the foodservice operators keep their menus fresh and introduce consumers to new avocado usage ideas."

Educational institutions and contract feeders are included with CAC's foodservice outreach. This summer, Sodexo Corporate Services, an integrated facilities management company, is showcasing five new Fresh California Avocado menu items in 850 Sodexo-managed foodservice operations. The five items — Turkey Avocado Club Croissant, Avocado BLT Burger, Shrimp Ceviche Salad, Avocado Caprese Salad and Avocado Breakfast Sandwich — are offered on a two-week rotation and promoted with customized point-of-purchase materials at the ordering station.

Read more about food and beverage innovations.

Topics: Equipment & Supplies , Food & Beverage , Operations Management , Pizza Toppings , Trends / Statistics

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