The Commission Showcases the Value and Versatility of Fresh California Avocados at PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo

  • Aug 27, 2019

From July 26 – 27, approximately 1,800 foodservice operators, distributors, packers and handlers attended the 2019 Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Foodservice Conference & Expo held in Monterey, CA. Members of the California Avocado Commission (CAC) foodservice team networked with chain produce purchasing personnel at the event, participated in brainstorming sessions and exhibited at the Expo.

On Sunday, the Commission showcased the value and versatility of fresh California avocados at the Expo with demonstrations of two avocado menu concepts: California Avocado Turkey Lavosh Wrap and Caramelized California Avocado Salad with Bacon Confit and Citrus Vinaigrette. During the Expo, CAC foodservice team members met with potential target chain contacts and current foodservice chain partners to discuss next season’s crop, CAC’s marketing support and menu ideation concepts. By meeting one-on-one with key foodservice contacts, the CAC team builds the potential to increase demand and expand penetration of fresh California avocados on targeted foodservice chain menus. This year the Commission secured eight new contacts at the event.

Alexei Rudolf, CAC foodservice team member, participated in PMA’s second annual ThinkTANK session. This discussion session gathered diverse industry members with varying roles and backgrounds together to share their perspectives and insights concerning the biggest challenges facing the produce industry and how members of the industry can work together to solve them. Common themes from the group’s discussions included:

  • Combatting food waste
  • Consistency and availability of product
  • Focusing on flavor and quality over appearance and shelf life
  • Climate change concerns
  • Logistics and labor

PMA has compiled highlights from the ThinkTANK session, including possible next steps, and shared them with the industry.

Dave Cruz and Alexei Rudolf discussed the California avocado crop with the Flagship Restaurant Group.

Corporate Chef/Director of Culinary Operations Shane Schailby and Vice President of Purchasing Lilah Rippet of First Watch visited CAC’s booth to discuss the growth of the chain and future opportunities.

The CAC foodservice team discussed fresh California avocado applications in Asian cuisine with product innovators from Panda Express.

Gene Harris of Denny’s spoke with Dave Cruz and Alexei Rudolf about volume estimates for next year’s California avocado crop.

Dave Cruz, Kathy Burns (PMA) and Dan Stark (PMA) discussed agribusiness with a student attending PMA’s Foodservice Conference & Expo.

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