California Avocado Commission Responds to COVID-19 Pandemic
IRVINE, CA - Zeroing in on the peak needs of the industry and those it serves, the California Avocado Commission has announced that it is responding to the current COVID-19-induced climate with rapid changes in-house.
“The Commission has been extensively reevaluating each CAC activity in light of societal shifts and sensitivities and adjusting our activities as we strive to move forward in support of this year’s California avocado crop with the right messages, tone, and method of delivery,” said California Avocado Commission President, Tom Bellamore. “Likewise, the obvious importance of retail sales and the constraints on the foodservice industry are driving daily decisions about how we allocate resources and support our valued customers.”
Marketing plans, grower communications, and office operations are all being included in this shift as Bellamore emphasized that safety throughout the supply chain and the California avocado industry is the Commission’s number one priority.
On the market side, the team shared that retailers reported a very strong pull from shoppers for early and mid-March, and despite being offset somewhat by the foodservice dine-in cessation, California avocado growers harvested nearly 46.7 million pounds this season through March 22.
This, the Commission noted, compares to 5.1 million pounds for the same time last year. Some of this increase is due to a larger crop in 2020, but much is due to strong early-season demand.
As many of us know, consumer panic-buying was a nation-wide event over the past month, resulting in some expectations of softer retail traffic into early April. This, according to a press release, has led many growers to temporarily slow down on harvesting. Unlike some produce items, mature avocados can remain safely on their trees, providing some harvesting flexibility. Meanwhile, welcome rains have continued in California avocado growing areas, which bodes well for sizing and quality leading into late spring and summer.
The Commission has also shifted much of its outdoor advertising buy to streaming video and digital communication, maintaining its objectives to reach targeted consumers where they are.
“Major changes, such as ‘safer at home’ orders have caused CAC to critically examine where and how consumers are spending their time, how they are feeling about things and what resources we might provide as a brand,” said Jan DeLyser, California Avocado Commission Vice President of Marketing.
The new advertising creative The best avocados have California in them is also still on.
“Positivity and healthy food, like avocados, are among what consumers need most right now. Given the timing and the fact that the new advertising campaign had launched, we decided to stay with it,” said DeLyser. “Enjoying healthy produce like fresh California avocados is a simple pleasure we can savor while we’re home.”
Likewise, the team has multiple channels to communicate with California avocado growers and industry stakeholders, including publications and its grower website, according to a press release. Digital programs with influential bloggers who contribute to CAC’s blog, The Scoop, and to their own channels, as well as digital chef programs, recipe communications, and marketing via custom content providers all continue.
To read what might come down the line for the Commission, click here to view the announcement in its entirety.
While visiting CAC’s website, be sure to see the new coronavirus resource page to help growers and stakeholders find key government and industry guidance in one convenient location.
As our industry continues to work through this pandemic, AndNowUKnow is here to report to and serve it.