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West Pak focuses on branded bagged avocados

Capitalizing on the seemingly unstoppable avocado craze, West Pak Avocado Inc. is focusing a considerable portion of its attention on the continued development of bagged avocados, offering retailers several different options to sell to consumers.

At the recent Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit convention om Orlando, FL, the firm was touting its “I Love Avocados” brand of both conventional and organic bagged fruit as well as its newest addition to that category, “‘Lil ‘Cados,” which feature smaller, single-serve avocados.

The Lil ‘Cados bag will most often feature an 84-size piece of fruit, but the seasonal marketing situation could call for a size larger or smaller.

I LOVE AVOS PAKAGING The company also previewed “California Gold,” a California-specific brand of bagged avocados that will debut in the spring of 2019. That bag identifier speaks to the premium position California fruit enjoys in the marketplace during its peak season.

Doug Meyer, senior vice president of sales and marketing, said the major expansion in its bag program is a consumer-focused idea designed to appeal to shoppers in much the same way that branded bagged mandarins and packaged kiwifruit have caught fire in recent years.

“The bags include messaging and a social media connection,” he said, adding that there is an effort to create a “pull-through” connection with consumers. The firm will be promoting the branded bags online, engaging consumers in a conversation about avocados and trying to create some brand loyalty.

The West Pak executive said, in general, avocado sales continue to climb with sales of bagged avocados exploding in recent years. He said retailers are continually looking for new opportunities to add SKUs to the category. He noted retailer feedback at the PMA Fresh Summit was tremendous.

He added that the bagged option for organics — I Love Avocados — is an especially strong play as growth in that sector continues to surpass expectations. He noted that virtually all retailers now carry both conventional and organic avocados and the bagging choices create an easy way to add to the category with seasonal branded options and promotional campaigns directed to a variety of customer audiences.

As West Pak moves into the holiday marketing period and beyond, Meyer said avocado supplies should be strong moving forward. He said the firm has been engaged in the Mexican avocado business since the early 1990s with its own packingshed, sourcing team and many long-time grower connections.

“There is a lot of depth to our Mexican program,” he said.