California Avocado Dishes Pique Interest at Restaurant Chain Gatherings

  • Nov 29, 2022

In September and October, the California Avocado Commission’s foodservice team attended two key events for restaurant chain decision makers where they effectively networked with attendees and showcased California avocados in unique menu presentations.

From September 18 – 20, the CAC team joined R&D/product innovation, corporate and executive chefs, purchasing/supply chain and marketing personnel from restaurant chains across the nation at the invitation-only FoodOvation. The event — which took place in Sun Valley, Idaho — allowed the foodservice team to have 40-minute one-on-one meetings with specific target chains interested in California avocados. During the sessions, the team discussed the seasonality and premium quality of the fruit and walked through a demo flavor-building exercise pairing California avocados with spices. In addition, the team presented a variety of California avocado menu concepts to demonstrate the versatility of the fruit and inspire discussions about how the concepts could fit within the chain’s menu profile. During the tasting sessions, guests sampled Whipped Feta Dip with California Avocados, California Avocado Sushi Roll Salad, BLT-California Avocados with an Upscale Twist and Plant-based Burger/Taco Complemented with California Avocados.

At FoodOvation CAC met with 14 operational teams representing more than 100 chain brands. During the event several operators noted on the second day they had heard about CAC’s flavor-building exercise from other operators and were very interested in the concept.

On October 17, the Commission participated in LA Chef Con, an event that gathered Los Angeles area independent and regional chain restaurant chefs and managers/owners for a combination of educational programs and cooking demos. The event was an ideal opportunity for CAC’s team to network with speakers and attendees, establish contacts with operators interested in using California avocados and discuss opportunities for promotion, public relations and marketing. During lunch, the team served a vegan California Avocado Ice Cream with Mango and Passionfruit, Passionfruit Coulis and Olive Oil Drizzle. The team scooped hundreds of servings of the recipe prepared by Chef Brad Ray, with many attendees commenting it was the best bite of the day.

Both events allowed the Commission to expand its target base of chain and high-volume independent contacts for future promotion opportunities, to cement existing relationships and uncover public relations leads. The unique California avocado menu presentations piqued the interest of attendees at both events and will help increase demand for and expand penetration of fresh California avocados on foodservice chain menus.

Kim Kurata (left) speaks with Shari’s purchasing and marketing representatives regarding California avocado seasonality and menu promotion opportunities.

Jason Hernandez (center) and Alexei Rudolf (right) walk through the flavor building exercise, pairing spices with California avocados.

Chef Brad Ray and LA Chef Con organizer Brad Metzer in front of the California Avocado Commission’s sponsored table serving plant-based ice cream — one of the most popular items during the lunch.

Attendee reaching for the California Avocado Ice Cream with Mango and Passionfruit.

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