Building Longstanding Retailer and Foodservice Loyalty to California Avocados with Pre-season Preparation
As soon as the California Avocado Commission (CAC) Board of Directors approved CAC’s annual plan, the merchandising/marketing teams began preparing messaging and materials to present to retailers and foodservice operators in advance of California avocado season. The team also develops the Marketing Program Book with information on shopper preferences and sales opportunities. It highlights retail sales data, consumer research and a collection of information supporting consumers’ preference for California avocados.
The Commission’s tiered account program— now in its fourth year — ensures California avocados are distributed to markets and customers where CAC can place the greatest level of marketing support while encouraging the best returns for the California grower. In support of the tiered program, the Marketing Program Book is utilized in season kick-off meetings between AMRIC handlers, CAC staff, Retail Marketing Directors (RMDs) and foodservice team members. During these meetings, crop volume and timing, CAC’s consumer and trade marketing plans and seasonal messages are discussed in an effort to align targeted retail and foodservice account marketing plans as well as to enhance communications between handlers, California avocado growers and the Commission.
RMDs and the foodservice team meet one-on-one with select retailers and foodservice operators who have demonstrated a preference for, and loyalty to, merchandising California avocados in season. During the retail meetings, CAC RMDs present the Marketing Program Book to demonstrate the benefits of carrying California avocados and communicate their shoppers’ preference for California avocados. The foodservice team uses a similar approach with targeted foodservice operators with discussions about crop timing, and customized marketing programs such as digital and social media support developed for each customer.
“The time spent with our target accounts reviewing CAC’s marketing plans and programs is invaluable in building their loyalty towards, and partnership with, California avocados. Retailers consistently tell us about their preference for California fruit and working with CAC,” notes Connie Stukenberg, CAC RMD.