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NEW YORK -- Amid mariachi music and margaritas, 37.6 million pounds of Hass avocados are expected to be consumed during next week's Cinco de Mayo festivities -- typically in the form of guacamole recipes, so said officials from the Mexican Hass Avocados Importer Association (MHAIA).
"Cinco de Mayo is the second largest Avocado consumption day in the country, surpassed only by Super Bowl Sunday, and acts as a perfect food to herald the coming of summer just around the corner," said Ed Figueroa, director of sales, LGS Specialty Sales LTD. based here, and chairman of the Mexican Hass Avocados Importer Association.
"With a 316 percent increase in sales of Hass avocados from Mexico over the past four years, the avocado trend keeps soaring," said Figueroa. To help take full advantage of those opportunities, Figueroa urged grocers to set up impactful displays and cross-promotions in the produce department.
That's exactly what New York-based specialty operator Gourmet Garage does when the merry month of May rolls around. "While Hass avocados are a perennial seller [during] Cinco de Mayo, we make sure to stock up because we see a peak," said Rob Prusak, a senior merchandising exec with renowned five-store Gourmet Garage. "People seem to be eating healthier, and they don't want to compromise taste. My customers love Hass avocados because they win on both counts."
Research published in a recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition indicates that avocados act as a "nutrient booster," allowing the body to absorb significantly more heart-healthy and cancer-fighting nutrients like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene found in fruits and vegetables.
The nutrient-dense avocados are low in saturated fat, and high in potassium and folic acid, and are rich in vitamins A, C, and E -- primary vitamins in the antioxidant group that help protect the cells in human tissue.
Now available all year long, Hass avocados from Mexico move swiftly from the grove to the grocer, passing through customs in only 48 hours, says Figueroa, who notes that in addition to tight government-regulated cleanliness standards in the groves, they pass through four points of inspection upon importation.
-- Meg Major