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IRVINE, Calif. --The California Avocado Commission (CAC) here recently bowed a new "Hand Grown in California" campaign that touts the benefits of California avocados through the stories of real growers, to encourage consumers to insist on California avocados.
Since its inception 30 years ago, CAC's marketing efforts have created awareness and helped increase consumption of avocados. However, results of an annual avocado-tracking study conducted by San Francisco-based Cooper Roberts Research, Inc., found consumer purchases in markets where CAC has advertised have risen from an average of 36 avocados annually per household in 1994 to an average of 82 avocados in 2007. The commission's marketing strategy plans to build upon this growth, using knowledge of consumer behaviors and attitudes -- including shoppers' desire to know where the food they consume is produced and who's producing it.
The Hand Grown in California campaign will feature California avocado growers as the stars of the show, relating personal stories that convey key benefits of Golden State avocados, including the personal care of crops from planting to harvest, and their proximity to market. Ads will feature pictures and interviews with real growers, not actors, and will include the newly unveiled Hand Grown in California logo.
Jan DeLyser, CAC's v.p. of marketing, said the study found that 54 percent of avocado buyers feel it is important that the avocados they buy are grown in the United States.
"That statistic is meaningful, but the fact that it represents a 25 percent increase from the prior year shows a significant change in the consumer mindset," observed DeLyser. "We combined research with knowledge of shopper interest in locally grown produce, the emerging handcrafted and artisan movements, and consumer concern about carbon footprints to shape a marketing campaign highly relevant to today's primary avocado shoppers."
In addition to a continued strong presence in its core markets with radio, outdoor and print media, CAC for the first time will advertise nationally on The Food Network. This year's media campaign will also feature integrated marketing targeted to both the trade and consumers, including extensive public relations outreach, online marketing, Internet advertising banners, and extensive print media ads carrying the Hand Grown in California message from coast to coast, said DeLyser, noting that CAC will focus its marketing efforts in the April-to-September period, when California avocados are at their peak of availability.