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CAC Expands Merchandising Force; Hass Readies for Super Bowl Promotion

Irvine, Calif. -- As consumer demand for avocados soars to an all-time high, so too, does the demand for more retail merchandising support. In repsonse, the California Avocado Commission (CAC) has expanded its retail merchandising force through agreements with David M. Anderson, Texas; Sheila Carden, Mid-Atlantic/Southeast; and Cece Krumrine, Northeast.

Said Jan DeLyser, CAC v.p. of marketing: "The avocado category is truly ripe with opportunity for increased sales and promotions in both developed and new demand markets. The addition of these experienced retail merchandising experts allows us to work more closely with retailers in more areas of the country."

Citing the household penetration numbers throughout the nation. DeLyser said locations where CAC has implemented its integrated programs featuring consumer advertising, retail merchandising, foodservice, public relations and nutrition the penetration numbers, "are in the 80 plus percent range. In other areas of the country avocado household penetration is in the low 20 percentile, signifying tremendous growth potential."

Commenting on the new members of CAC's merchandising team, DeLyser said, "Each possesses a high level of expertise in produce merchandising and all are well respected by the accounts they call on."

Anderson has been involved in fresh produce promotions in Texas since the mid-1990's, representing cherries, pears and Chilean fruit, while Carden has worked in fresh produce promotion for the past 15 years with tree fruit, pistachios, watermelons, mangoes and sweet corn. The 28-year produce industry veteran Krumrine is a co-founder of the New England Produce Council.

The new merchandisers report to Dave Howald, national merchandising director, who will maintain key account responsibility in the Northwest. Connie Stukenberg will continue as retail marketing director in the Southwest.

In addition to the CAC program, the merchandising force represents the Hass Avocado Board and the Chilean Avocado Import Association programs. "The consistent supply of avocados year-round creates retail promotional opportunities during both traditional such as Super Bowl, Cinco de Mayo and non-traditional periods for special events like the World Series, St. Patrick's Day and numerous regional special events," said DeLyser said. "Our merchandising force will work with key accounts to extend program opportunities, communicate our data assets and develop promotions that increase avocado category contribution and performance."

With the countdown officially underway for Super Bowl Sunday -- the day that accounts for the highest consumption of avocados from Mexico -- retailers are advised to keep an eye on their avocado displays.

The Preston Tully Group, agency of record for Hass Avocados from Mexico, will continue to help retailers benefit from this robust growth in Mexican Hass Avocado consumption through an expanded marketing campaign. The campaign began late October, when Mexican Hass fill the growing demand when the domestic Hass season comes to a close.

In order to further increase the consumer pull, Preston Tully is expanding its marketing campaign, which includes strategically integrated media, sales promotions and public relations efforts.

"Our main goal is to help retailers sell," noted Tully, "and we find that educating consumers -- on everything from identifying Hass, to storing, the many uses, and health benefits and great taste -- works."
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