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AFM launches Avo University to maximize sales, reduce shrink

avouAvocados may project an air of mystery, but they're really an open book — and now industry professionals can learn just how to read them. Avocados From Mexico has launched Avo University, the avocado industry's first educational guide and certification program designed specifically for retail and foodservice professionals.

Online, free of charge and easily accessible, Avo University takes just about half an hour. It offers a brand-new breakthrough capability for building the confidence of industry professionals on several avocado topics. Among the topics included is information on blooms, how to receive and store avocados, sizing, ripening, proper temperature levels and product merchandising strategies. The curriculum helps dispel common misperceptions about avocados and offers tips and techniques to maximize avocado sales and reduce shrinkage.

There is nothing quite like an avocado, and as an industry leader and trusted partner in the retail and foodservice sectors, AFM saw an opportunity to fulfill the rising need for avocado education. A 2016 study conducted by AFM of 1,820 U.S. nationally represented consumers revealed that 73 percent of shoppers would be more likely to buy avocados if they had more knowledge about them. This and other AFM research, analysis of industry needs, and in-depth consumer insights inspired Avo University. The tech-forward program shows industry professionals "It's That Easy!" to handle, manage and merchandise the product — and equips them to "avo-cate" with consumers, sharing what they have learned.

"Avo University is a first-of-its-kind certification program specific to industry professionals," said Stephanie Bazan, vice president of trade and market development for Avocados From Mexico. "Right now, education is one of the top purchase barriers in the category. This innovative solution offers our retail partners best-in-class category and product knowledge to support their operations and influence the shopper journey. Ultimately, Avo University creates value by driving demand and consumption."

In retail, Avo University is designed for corporate category managers, produce store associates, wholesalers, and grocery e-commerce professionals. Participants will learn:

  • How to determine when avocados are ready to eat, based on factors such as blooming, sizing and ripeness
  • Techniques to maximize avocado freshness and usage, so shoppers can purchase avocados with confidence
  • The journey an avocado takes on its way to market
  • Suggested merchandising strategies to help retailers move volume in-store
  • Tips to share with staff and customers on selecting ready-to-eat avocados

In foodservice, operators and distributors participating in Avo University will learn:

  • The five stages of avocado ripeness and the best menu uses for each, so no avocados go wasted
  • Methods for bulk avocado prep and ripening
  • Avocado handling tips and tricks to maximize restaurant back-of-house techniques
  • Holding methods to keep avocado halves, slices, dices or guac perfectly green throughout service

"Nothing adds premium appeal to a menu like fresh Avocados From Mexico, and the many tips, tricks and techniques available at Avo University make the category easy and fun to master," said David Spirito, senior director of culinary and foodservice for Avocados From Mexico. "We look forward to helping foodservice professionals expand their avocado knowledge and impress their guests as a result."

The Avo University curriculum also addresses what makes premium-quality AFM avocados so desirable and in demand, as well as brand partnership opportunities with AFM. To get started visit AvoEasy.com, or to learn more about the Avo University certification and how to partner with AFM contact avoeasy@avocadosfrommexico.com.

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