Commission’s Flavor Pairing Exercises Pique Interest of Restaurant Groups at FoodOvation

  • May 05, 2023

From April 2 – 5, the California Avocado Commission’s foodservice team attended the invitation-only FoodOvation event in Sun Valley, Idaho, where R&D/product innovation, corporate and executive chefs, purchasing/supply chain and marketing personnel from restaurant chains across the nation gathered. The event provided the Commission with the opportunity to expand its target base of chain and high-volume independent contacts for future foodservice promotions, uncover public relations leads and cement existing relationships with industry insiders.

During the multi-day event, the Commission met with 10 restaurant groups representing 18 brands in a series of one-on-one 40-minute sessions. To help increase demand and expand penetration of fresh California avocados on foodservice chain menus, the team discussed the seasonality of California avocados and why the fruit is deemed a premium offering. They also conducted a flavor pairing exercise to demonstrate how to build flavors and create memorable California avocado dishes. This was followed by a tasting of the composed dishes and discussions concerning how the menu concepts could fit within the chain’s unique menu profile. The menu concepts included three recipes that could be served as appetizers or used as spreads on sandwiches, flatbreads and pizzas —Whipped Feta Dip with California Avocados, Guac-asabi and California Avocado with Caramelized Onion and Balsamic Vinegar. CAC’s Plant-based Grain-Bean-Avocado Burger Topped with Slices of California Avocado also was presented as a grain bowl. And the Commission showcased a creative way to use slightly over-ripe avocados with its No-bake California Avocado Key Lime Pie.

By the second day of the event word of the Commission’s creative flavor pairing exercises had traveled among attendees with operators noting their excitement about their turn to participate. Further, one to two chains with locations outside the Commission’s geographic territory requested assistance with examining the possibility of distributing California avocados to their locales.

Chef Jason Hernandez shares insights about the unique flavor of California avocados and how the aromatic compounds change with spices during a session with Brendon Franko of Wildflower.

McAlister’s Deli Brock Peek and Alex Reyes of Menu and Innovations discuss the versatility of California avocado spreads with Kim Kurata.

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