The Rise of Avocados
Until recently, the avocado was fairly unknown, met with tons of questions and not enough answers. Now it’s eaten every day across the county in a plethora of different ways. So how did the avocado become so mainstream? On this National Avocado Day, we decided to look back at the avocado and how it became the superfood sensation that it is today.
The rise of the avocado took quite the marketing effort. Consumers weren’t always familiar with the fruit and the best ways to enjoy it. Part of this was because it wasn’t always known as an avocado. At first, they were given the Spanish name “Ahuacate,” derived from Aztec origins, but that wasn’t the easiest to pronounce. They were also called the “Alligator Pear” because of their bumpy, olive-colored skin. However, that name was both unappealing and misleading, given the many differences between pears and avocados. Finally, in 1915 a group of farmers put their heads together and came up with a new name: the avocado.
By the time the 1980s came around, U.S. dietary guidelines recommended a low-fat diet. Continuing into the 90s, the trend was tough on the avocado industry, despite their efforts to educate the public on the health benefits of avocados. Of course, up until that point, avocado producers had not done much to educate the public on how to eat an avocado, nor did they promote them in the context of Latin American cuisine where these fruits shine. Therefore, folks had no idea how or where to add avocado.
Finally, in the 90s, the California Avocado Commission hired Hill & Knowlton a public relations firm who introduced “Mr. Ripe Guy” a mascot used to educate and promote all things avocados. Mr. Ripe Guy got the ball rolling on what turned into an all-out campaign to promote these superfruits. Hill & Knowlton worked to showcase avocados on the ultimate stage, the super bowl, getting big time NFL stars to share their favorite recipes, and market guacamole to fans around the country.
Avocado sales quickly skyrocketed with its crop value spiked by nearly 70%, turning the avocado from an anomaly to a household grocery item. Now guacamole is one of the go-to Super Bowl Sunday snacks. Today, avocados are featured in endless amounts of recipes and people pay extra to have some avocado thrown in their salad, added on their sandwich, or even spread on their toast.
For some awesome avocado recipes and inspiration check out our website. Don’t forget to stop by your local Price Chopper & Market 32 or shop with us online for all your National Avocado Day needs. It’s time to celebrate the emergence of this awesome superfruit!