You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Business

  • Philips loses $467 million patent suit to US competitor
     AMSTERDAM – Royal Philips NV says it will book a $467 million charge in the third quarter after losing a patent lawsuit to smaller U.S. competitor Masimo Corp.
  • Barra shares plan to renew GM
    MILFORD, Mich. – General Motors CEO Mary Barra told investors Wednesday that GM plans a raft of new models and a big push to sell more cars in China to drive profits in coming years, as the biggest U.S.
  • General Mills to cut workforce
    General Mills plans to cut about 700 to 800 jobs, the second time it has trimmed its workforce in a month as the food company adjusts to a shift by U.S.
Advertisement
Associated Press photos
Good marketing has turned the Super Bowl into a national party day, and that is good timing for the key ingredient in guacamole dip, avocados, which are in season now.

Pizza, beer, wings? Yes, but guac is king!

Piles of avocados greet U.S. customers at supermarkets this time of year, but it took much lobbying by growers.

Imagine for a moment a Super Bowl without the avocado.

No tubs of guacamole to be defiled by double-dipping guests at your big game-day party. No chunks of creamy green flesh with which to spike your salsa or scatter over nachos.

If that’s hard to picture, it’s because the avocado has so completely – and so quickly – attached itself to this utterly unrelated sporting event.

As recently as 13 years ago the avocado wasn’t the football juggernaut it is today. It has been a relentless and cunning campaign to victory, achieved in part through marketing muscle.

Back at the turn of this century, Americans ate a mere 8 million pounds of avocados during Super Bowl festivities. Apparently this needed to be remedied, so in 2002 the Hass Avocado Board was formed to promote the dominant avocado variety sold in the U.S.

Today, Americans are expected to consume 79 million pounds of avocados around the championship game. For those keeping score, that’s roughly 158 million avocados.

“They are outstanding marketers. We can all learn something from them,” Kathy Means, vice president of government affairs for the Produce Marketing Association, says of avocado marketing groups, which also include the California Avocado Commission. “It’s part of the Super Bowl culture. It’s not just associated with it; it’s ingrained in it.”

Of course, some credit for the ascendance of the avocado goes to the nation’s burgeoning Latino population and the growing popularity of Hispanic foods, including guacamole (which, by the way, dates to the Aztecs). Cinco de Mayo previously had been the top guac day.

Connecting foods and events that share no true cultural bond is no simple matter. Plenty of produce lobbyists have tried.

“I used to run the kiwifruit commission,” says Scott Horsfall, CEO of the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement. “We used to try to get some promotion around Groundhog Day because kiwis and groundhogs are both fuzzy. But we never got much attention there.”

Hard to believe, really.

So why the avocado and why the Super Bowl? Broadly speaking, it helps that the Super Bowl has morphed from athletic event to all-out national party. And that has meant a windfall for many party-friendly foods on what the Snack Foods Association deems the “biggest snacking day of the year.”

Advertisement