The California avocado forecast for November 2021 through October 2022 is 306 million pounds, said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission.
With favorable market conditions and sizing, some growers started harvesting a bit earlier than usual — early enough, in fact, for California product to be part of fans’ Super Bowl party plans.
“Typically the picking season starts ramping up in March and continues through August, tapering off into early fall,” DeLyser said. “With the overall market demand being so high in the early season, timing this year could be different.”
California growers expect a good mix of sizes and excellent quality this season, DeLyser said.
Even before supply issues with Mexico arose (in February, Mexican exports to the US were temporarily halted after a USDA official in Michoacan, Mexico, was threatened), retailers were contacting CAC about merchandising California avocados as soon as supply was available to cover their needs, DeLyser said. In some cases, that meant programs starting earlier in the season than usual.
One of the highlights of the commission’s media plan for this year, DeLyser said, is its use of the navigational app Waze. CAC’s advertising on the app alerts targeted avocado shoppers to nearby retail locations where they can buy their favorite produce item.
“We’re literally sending shoppers to participating supermarkets,” she said.
The commission’s extremely successful advertising campaign, “The best avocados have California in them,” continues this year, with customized promotions for retailers available again. This year’s campaign will target avocado “super users” and select consumers in California and the west. Consumer research has shown that the ads are effective at building awareness for the California avocado season and maintaining brand preference among targeted consumers, according to the commission.
Customized retail and foodservice promotions with targeted customers continue to be key components of California avocado marketing support. Media support will include audio advertising, streaming video and other digital media throughout the season. Outdoor boards supplement the activity in California in peak months.
The Commission’s merch store, Shop.CaliforniaAvocado.com, features new California-avocado centric items that complement the advertising campaign.
The 306 million pounds of fruit expected in 2022 would be 15% more than last year, DeLyser said.
“California avocado growers welcomed rains in December and January because they moved the region from severe drought to moderate drought conditions, and rain usually has a positive impact on tree health and avocado sizing. We’re expecting a good mix of sizes to support a variety of customer needs.”
Volume ramped up in earnest around March. While the commission’s fiscal year runs from November 2021 through October 2022, about 80% of the California avocado season volume is expected to occur from April through August, with the season winding down starting in September.
“We’re looking forward to the 2022 California avocado season with additional volume for promotions and creative California avocado marketing to support our customers,” said DeLyser.