California Avocado Commission touts foodservice benefits

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California Avocado Commission touts foodservice benefits

The California Avocado Commission (CAC) has estimated 30% of the fruit's consumption in the U.S. comes from the foodservice sector, with several programs in place to help push demand higher.

In a release, CAC highlighted promotions this year through programs with chains such as Baja Fresh, Chipotle (California), Denny's, El Pollo Loco, Ruby's Diner, Sizzler, Sodexo, Subway (Southern California), Which Wich and zpizza.

The commission claims its programs over the years have helped raise awareness of fresh Californian avocados, as well as generating new menu applications with culinary teams to develop dishes incorporating the fruit that fit different service and menu profiles.

"This two-pronged approach secured 19 promotions with restaurant chains to date in 2012, with several of the chains adding Fresh California Avocado to their menus for the first time," said CAC vice president of marketing Jan DeLyser.

The release highlighted new avocado menu items this year such as El Pollo Loco's 'Avocado Bacon Tostada' and Sizzler's 'California Grilled Malibu Chicken', which ran in Arizona, California and New Mexico.

California Denny’s locations switched from frozen avocados to Fresh California Avocados in support of their 'Tour of America" menu, with two dishes, Huevos Rancheros and Malibu Fish Tacos including Californian avocados.

"The California Avocado Commission has marketed to the foodservice industry for decades, and the programs just keep getting better," DeLyser said.

"New Fresh California Avocado menu applications in scores of restaurant chains help the foodservice operators keep their menus fresh and introduce consumers to new avocado usage ideas."

The commission added educational institutions and contract feeders were also in the mix, such as Sodexo Corporate Services with their iteams 'Turkey Avocado Club Croissant', 'Avocado BLT Burger', 'Shrimp Ceviche Salad', 'Avocado Caprese Salad' and 'Avocado Breakfast Sandwich'.

DeLeyser told the aggregate avocado volume in the U.S. has grown from 500 million pounds to 1.4 billion pounds over the last decade, with the foodservice share remaining at around 30% of the total.

"Foodservice provides an outstanding opportunity to introduce new usage ideas and we are seeing more and more recipes featuring avocados across all day-parts from breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and even in beverages and desserts," she said.

"The nutrition profiles is attractive to consumers and the versatility of the fruit as an ingredient or main course makes it popular with chefs and foodservice operators."

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