2018 PMA Fresh Summit, Orlando, FL

Avocados From Mexico: Setting the Record Straight About Good Fats

November 14, 2018

The Ask: To increase avocado consumption and in-store purchases of fresh avocados.

The Challenge: Consumers’ fear of fat and lack of reliable, accurate nutrition information.

The Solution: To deliver trusted nutrition information and inspiration direct to consumers to embrace the health attributes of avocados.

The Approach: Leverage supermarket RDs as in-store nutrition experts to set the record straight on healthy, “good fats,” and inspire shoppers with easy, delicious and nutritious avocado recipes.

Skyrocketing Avocado Consumption with Unique Marketing Efforts

In 2014, I was hired as a consultant to work with Avocados From Mexico to develop a trade platform for supermarket dietitians as a unique way to engage retailers across the U.S. Just one year earlier in 2013, Avocados From Mexico was formed as a not-for-profit organization charged with coordinating marketing activities for the Mexican Hass Avocados Importers Association (MHAIA) and the Association of Growers and Packers of Avocados From Mexico (APEAM). Since entering the U.S. market in the late 1990s, the Mexican Hass avocado industry used innovative marketing strategies to increase avocado consumption, including their first TV commercial during the Super Bowl in 2015 and a robust trade promotion platform.


My work? As the #1 selling avocado brand, Avocados From Mexico (AFM) was ready to bust misconceptions about good fats and re-introduce American shoppers to this heart-healthy, versatile fruit. By leveraging supermarket dietitians to communicate directly with consumers, the goal was to set the record straight with the help of the nation’s most trusted sources of nutrition and dietary information – RDs.

As a former supermarket RD and the founding partner of the Oldways Supermarket Dietitian Symposium, I knew just what retail RDs needed to better understand, embrace and promote Avocados From Mexico.

Here are some of the ways that I worked with Avocados From Mexico to increase consumption of avocados:

1. Trade platform For Retail RDs

Working in coordination with AFMs team of Regional Directors, I aligned our retail marketing efforts with retail dietitians to amplify our promotional programs and create new opportunity to promote the AFM brand at many successful national and regional retailers. In addition, I facilitated the successful partnerships between AFM and Produce For Kids ™.

Retail Partners:  Ahold-Delhaize, Albertson’s, H-E-B, HyVee, Kroger, Meijer, Northgate Markets, Publix, ShopRite (Wakefern) and many more.

2. Nutrition Communications

Using my journalistic expertise and large network of retail RDs, I launched a retail RD newsletter to:Share nutrition & retail expertise; highlight key health/nutrition promotional opportunities, including our annual National Nutrition Month campaign; profile retail RD best practices; and share new nutrition resources including new healthy recipes.

3. Health Professional & Consumer Education Materials

Retail Dietitians work in a variety of settings and need materials tailored to their unique roles, whether it is educating in the aisles, using social media or performing a culinary demo on a TV segment. By serving up healthy and unique avocado recipes, providing poignant nutrition talking points and giving inspiration for in-store promotions, AFM is successful in meeting the needs of this powerful audience that reaches millions of customers.

4. Healthy Recipe Development

Over the past five years, I’ve tested, improved and introduced nearly 100 new trendy avocado recipes with nutrition facts. Here are a few of my favorites:

Bell Pepper Tacos

Chocolate Avocado Chunky Monkey Toast

Individual 7-Layer Dip Cups

Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Zesty Avocado Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups

5. Retail RD Engagement & Networking

As a nutrition ambassador for the brand, it’s important to have visibility at trade shows and conferences to meet face-to-face with dietitians and retailers to share resources and build relationships. We host retail RDs at our booth at the Produce Marketing Association’s annual Fresh Summit and participate in key retail RD events, including the Oldways Symposium. In 2018, we hosted retail dietitians for the first time at Avocado University in the AFM Culinary Center located in Dallas, TX, where they learned the latest nutrition research and culinary strategies to make healthy swaps.

Visit MyAvoNutrition.com to view nutrition resources developed by Barb.

Since entering the U.S. market in the late 1990s, the Mexican Hass avocado industry has experienced rapid expansion with a 250% increase in consumption over the last two decades. As trusted champions of America’s favorite-good-fat-fruit,retail dietitians continue to spread avocado nutrition love in supermarkets across the U.S. and exert a powerful influence over consumer avocado purchases.

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Changemaker Barbara Ruhs, MS, RDN, is transforming public health by re-envisioning the way food is understood and promoted. A seasoned supermarket dietitian and former Harvard nutritionist, Barb leads the way by offering innovative retail solutions that forge connections between food marketers, market RDs and consumers hungry for truth.


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