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Seeking to spur shopper demand for California avocados by spreading the word that the fruit can serve as a replacement for fat in baking, the California Avocado Commission (CAC) has unveiled a national PR effort aimed at encouraging health-conscious bakers to substitute avocado for many traditional baking ingredients, including butter and shortening, by simply replacing these components with an equal amount of avocado.
The campaign centers on the concentration of beneficial carotenoids in avocados. CAC-sponsored research conducted at UCLA found that California-grown avocados contain 11 antioxidant-rich carotenoids -- plant pigments present in large quantities in dark leafy greens like spinach; as well as in red- and orange-hued produce such as tomatoes and carrots. The UCLA research showed that in California avocados, the greatest concentration of beneficial carotenoids is in the dark-green fruit closest to the peel.
“The commission’s public relations outreach to encourage consumers to ‘nick and peel’ their California avocados and to eat that dark-green area of the fruit has resulted in 33 million consumer impressions,” said Jan DeLyser, VP of marketing for Irvine-based CAC. “This ‘nick and peel’ message is also valuable information for produce departments to share with their shoppers.”
By substituting avocado, the nutritional value of the baked item is increased with the fruit’s contribution of nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, along with “good fats” (poly- and monounsaturated fats). In addition, the overall calories in a recipe can be reduced by substituting avocado for an ingredient like butter. Two tablespoons of avocado have 50 calories, vs. the 204 calories in two tablespoons of butter.
“CAC supports retailers by providing nutrition messaging they can use with their shoppers,” said DeLyser. “We have provided content for retailer health-and-wellness newsletters, their Web sites, e-mail outreach and in-store efforts, all to encourage avocado sales.”
The commission’s retailer support efforts are helping spread avocado nutrition messages to consumers. For example, the UCLA phytonutrient research and avocado nick-and-peel information was featured in the May/June shopper publication of a major national retailer. The corporate nutritionist of another national chain posted online information about avocados as a first food for babies and toddlers, and included a link back to the “Homemade Avocado Baby Food” page on www.CaliforniaAvocado.com/nutrition/.
For more information, visit www.CaliforniaAvocado.com.