As it usually is this time of year, demand for California avocados is high this season. The California Avocado Commission’s integrated promotional plans include a combination of in-store display and sales contests with robust online, social media and digital advertising campaigns.

The Commission recognizes that due to COVID-19 safety protocols retailers have continued to remain cautious about in-store promotions, such as demos, and that online marketing continues to play a primary role. Another important retail outreach for the Commission that also has seen a shift is its retail dietitian program.

Description of program

Retail dietitians are natural promoters of fresh produce, playing a critical role in moving fruits and vegetables at the point of sale. Working closely with these influencers, the Commission serves as a go-to resource for information and inspiration about everything California avocado. Looking at programs the past few years, CAC’s relationships with these retail dietitians have led to creative programs that reach customers where they are; in-store, on the road and in their homes.

Examples of successes

As customers moved inside, the Commission and Albertson’s Companies reached them where they were with Albertsons Companies Network Dietitian Amrita Jayagopal showcasing California avocados in a Facebook Live event that attracted a record number of viewers for the retailer. To leverage the communications power of third-party advocates, CAC’s Living Well Brand Advocate partner Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, also hosted a Facebook Live on his page and promoted the event across his social media channels. Recipes featured during the Facebook Live were created by Albertsons’ Wellness Corporate Dietitian.

Hy-Vee, a “best in class regional retailer operating in the Midwest,” supported California avocados with a unique online and media outreach program in July 2020 during which HyHy-Vee_Spot_-_Dietitian_Melissa_Jaeger_(2-23-21).jpg-Vee’s retail dietitians shared how to swap heart-healthy California avocados in BBQ and picnic favorite recipes provided by CAC. The recipes were used in social media posts by the dietitians and were featured on the Hy-Vee website. The promotion also included online cooking classes conducted by Hy-Vee’s retail dietitians, a segment on HSTV, Hy-Vee’s TV channel and generated multiple local market television spots. Working with trusted third-party advocates who position California avocados on a health and wellness platform encourages sales of the fruit during the promotion and beyond. The month-long program resulted in more than 500 social media posts and a 17 percent increase in Hass avocados sales for July 2020 compared to July 2019

Working with trusted third-party advocates who position California avocados on a health and wellness platform encourages sales of the fruit during the promotion and beyond.

California Avocado Commission Tools for Retail Dietitians

The California Avocado Commission is the go-to resource for everything California avocado. Special materials are created to help dietitians educate their customers and introduce them to new usage ideas.

The California Avocado Retail Resource Guide is an online resource stocked full of ready-to-use tips, recipes, images and content to support retail programs and initiatives.

The Commission also developed three new information-filled “Superfood Spotlights” with dietitian-developed recipes and helpful tips  for retailers to share with consumers. Most recently, the Commission worked with Oldways on A Look at the Mediterranean Diet, with Produce for Better Health on Get Ahead with California Avocados and Plant-forward Eating and CA Grown on Bring California Grown to Your American Summer Holidays.

Retail dietitians often are included as part of other California avocado programs, including sessions at conventions and media events. Recently a retail dietitian participated in the Commission's season opener online cooking class with chef Brian Malarkey.

“I look forward to a time when the California Avocado Commission can once again invite retail dietitians to experience a California avocado grove tour to learn firsthand about the care provided by Golden State growers, the technology utilized by handlers and packers, and the versatility and nutritional value of the fruit so they can share with their customers,” said Jan DeLyser, CAC vice president marketing. “Until then we’re working together virtually and continue to share the message.”