FoodOvation Event Leads to California Avocado Menu and Promotional Opportunities

  • May 11, 2022

From April 10 – 13, the California Avocado Commission’s foodservice team attended the invitation-only FoodOvation event in Sun Valley, Idaho, and networked with chain restaurant chefs, owners and heads of purchasing and marketing. The event offered the opportunity to meet one-on-one with key decision makers from targeted foodservice chains in the western region, as well as with national chains interested in California-grown avocados.

During each of their 40-minute sessions, the Commission team discussed the seasonality of California avocados and why they are a premium choice. They noted the availability of the GEM variety, an avocado that has piqued the interest of the industry. The Commission then walked foodservice teams through a flavor-building exercise by pairing California avocados with an array of spices. They closed with a menu concepts tasting session and discussed how specific concepts could fit with the chain’s unique menu profile. Attendees sampled Whipped Feta Dip with California Avocados, California Avocado Sushi Roll Salad, BLT-California Avocados with an upscale twist, and two California Avocado Flatbread Pizzas — a California Supreme and a Vegan California Avocado Pizza with Kale-Cashew Pesto.

The Commission met with decision makers from 13 chain restaurant companies and is now exploring menu development and promotion for the 2022 and 2023 seasons with eight of those brands. Ultimately, the event helped the Commission expand its target base of chain contacts, cement existing relationships, build awareness and loyalty for the brand and encourage demand for California avocados. With time it may also expand penetration of fresh California avocados on foodservice chain menus.

Chef Jason Hernandez walks the IHOP team through the California avocado flavor pairing exercise.

One of the menu concepts shared with foodservice chain decision makers was the Vegan California Avocado Pizza with Kale-Cashew Pesto.

Members of the Pizza Factory team sampled a variety of California avocado menu concepts and explored a variety of spice pairings with the fruit.

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