AVOCADO FUND SNAPSHOT

Avocado

See how the avocado levy is hard at work! Scroll down to learn about Hort Innovation’s current investment of the industry levy, and results from these investments, in the R&D and marketing snapshots – or click on a project name below to go straight to a specific update. Also look for the ‘ACT NOW’ tag to easily identify project resources ready to use.

All projects are funded by Hort Innovation using the avocado R&D or marketing levy and, in the case of R&D, contributions from the Australian Government. In some projects, additional funding sources are also used.

INDUSTRY UPDATE

Don’t forget to grab the Avocado Fund Annual Report

Released at the start of November, Hort Innovation’s Avocado Fund Annual Report sums up all levy investments and activities from 2016/17. You can download a copy here, or head to Hort Innovation’s Annual Report Portal to place an order for a free hard copy of the report.

What research do you want to see?

As always, Hort Innovation encourages all growers and industry participants to share their thoughts and ideas for the research they want to see – whether that’s within the industry-specific Avocado Fund (where research is funded by grower levies and Australian Government contributions), or within Hort Innovation’s strategic partnership initiative, Hort Frontiers (where research is funded through partnerships with co-investors).

Watch this video to see how ideas are collected and grown into projects, then submit your suggestions for new projects here.

Get closer to your investments with free membership

Hort Innovation membership brings you closer to the investment activities and results in your levy fund, and to the organisation as a whole. As well as providing the opportunity for voting rights at the company’s Annual General Meeting, membership helps you connect with your industry’s Relationship Manager, sends Hortlink straight to your inbox for first-look access, provides exclusive Grower Intel alerts with industry-specific news and opportunities, and more.

Paying a levy doesn’t automatically make you a member, so read more here and sign up now!

Find resources on the Hort Innovation Avocado Fund page…

Along with Hortlink, Hort Innovation’s webpage for avocado levy payers is a great source of info. On it you’ll find:

  • Key documents including the Avocado Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for 2017-2021, released earlier in 2017, and the Avocado Fund Annual Report
  • The latest meeting notes from the avocado Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP), which most recently met during November, for attendance at the Avocado R&D Planning forum, and is due to convene again in the early new year via teleconference
  • Current financial documents regarding your levy, including operating statements and expenditure summaries for R&D and marketing projects
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the industry.
Any questions?

Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Astrid Hughes is always available to answer questions or provide info on the Avocado Fund program. She can be reached on 0405 306 334 or at astrid.hughes@horticulture.com.au.

R&D SNAPSHOT

NEW, ONGOING AND COMPLETED PROJECTS FOR THE INDUSTRY

Avocado export readiness and market access (AV17000)

Status: New project

Key research provider: Avocados Australia

What’s it all about? Contracted by Hort Innovation in November, this project acknowledges that a rapid increase in avocado production in Australia has been creating a need for the industry to access and develop new markets. The project will ensure that the industry is prepared to export, that there is capacity to pursue new and improved market access, and will provide necessary support for government negotiations with intended markets.

What’s the latest update? With the project still in its initial stages, look for further information on its activities in future editions of Hortlink and in industry channels.

Implementation of recommendations from the Avocado Nursery Voluntary Accreditation Scheme review (AV16013)

Status: New project

Key research provider: Nursery & Garden Industry Australia

What’s it all about? The long-running Avocado Nursery Voluntary Accreditation Scheme (ANVAS) was established to provide superior planting material for the avocado industry. It supports sound nursery practices, the use of virus-tested and registered sources of seed and budwood, and the exclusion of soil-borne plant pathogens and roots diseases. Participation in the scheme is voluntary, with any nursery operator that meets ANVAS requirements able to apply for accreditation.

ANVAS was reviewed as part of a previous levy-funded project, and this new investment is now intended to implement the recommendations from this work, updating and improving the scheme and its guidelines to ensure they are best placed to protect the industry’s productivity and profitability, aligning with new technologies and emergent pathogens.

What’s the latest update? With this project now getting underway, look for updates in future editions of Hortlink. 

Avocado industry biosecurity capacity building (AV16010)

Status: New project

Key research provider: The University of Queensland

What’s it all about? Beginning in November, this new project in the Hort Innovation Avocado Fund will be responsible for bolstering biosecurity for the avocado industry. It will…

  • Develop new diagnostic protocols for high-risk biosecurity threats to the industry, such as avocado scab fungus Sphaceloma perseae, and maintain existing diagnostic protocols for quarantinable pests and pathogens.
  • Monitor emerging biosecurity threats and allow rapid responses to any incursions that arise
  • Provide diagnostic support for other levy-funded avocado plant health projects.

The researchers will also be looking at the diversity of scolytid beetles and associated fungi affecting avocados in Australia.

What’s the latest update? With this project just getting underway, look for updates in future editions of Hortlink.

Review of national biosecurity plans (MT17003)

Status: New project

Key research provider: Plant Health Australia

What’s it all about? Contracted by Hort Innovation in November, this five-year project is for and funded by both the avocado and mango industries. It will be responsible for reviewing and updating the industries’ biosecurity plans. These plans are top-level documents that identify high-priority endemic and exotic pests, diseases and weeds, along with the risk mitigation activities required to reduce their biosecurity threat, and surveillance and diagnostic activities. They provide a strategic framework for industry and government to work together to improve preparedness for and response to these potential threats.

Maximising yield and reducing seasonal variation (AV16005)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: CSIRO

What’s it all about? This project is developing the knowledge and tools needed to manipulate and maximise avocado tree yields, to help improve production and profitability in the industry. Specifically, it is…

  • Looking at resource competition between shoots and fruits, potentially opening the door for new methods of reducing fruit drop
  • Looking at how high, sustainable production can be achieved from year to year, through progressing the understanding of high-yielding tree development.

What’s the latest update? As the project team report, fruit tree production is dependent upon mechanisms regulated by the nutrient status of the tree, as well as environmental cues. However, production is significantly limited by the fact that vegetative shoot growth coincides with fruit development, which results in resource competition for the carbohydrates, other nutrients and hormones necessary for maintaining growth.

This competition impacts on the early stages of fruit development, as shoot growth diverts resources, resulting in fruit growth cessation followed by abscission – a key event that limits avocado production.

The project has begun looking at relevant knowledge and knowledge gaps in this area, working with international experts and bringing together information from model plant systems and existing industry research to delve into how reproduction events are regulated (including pollination, fertilisation, fruit set and fruit abscission) and what the physiological mechanisms of resource competition and fruit growth cessation are.

This information is what is needed to allow key intervention points to be identified, to in turn develop effective management tools to limit abscission and enhance growth and development.

Field trials are upcoming, including those looking at factors affecting timing and degree of fruit abscission including pruning and fertilisation treatments.

In its course, the project will also be developing tools and systems to address the physiological basis of high productivity. It will begin using a rootstock trial to look at the role of rootstock-scion interactions in regulating yield, and will look to develop a method to manipulate stored carbohydrates to better understand the role of carbohydrates in resource competition.

Investigating tree mortality during early field establishment (AV14012) 

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: The University of Queensland

What’s it all about? Beginning in 2015, this project is looking into fungal root-rots caused by species of the Nectriaceae family, which infect and cause destruction of roots of plants in the nursery. It is increasing the industry’s understanding of diseases causing tree deaths after out-planting, and providing practical management procedures for nurseries and growers to improve tree establishment and health in avocado orchards.

What’s the latest update? One of the project’s areas of research has been the evaluation of cover cropping and/or mulching with biofumigant species within the brassica family – an avenue not previously investigated in avocado production systems.

As reported in the last edition of Hortlink, the project ran small glasshouse trials where dried and powdered biofumigant mustard species were added to plant potting mix, though this didn’t yield any consistent effect on root rot caused by Nectriaceae pathogens Phytophthora cinnamomi or Dactylonectria macrodidyma. However, the researchers reported promising laboratory results showing inhibition of certain pathogens by other biofumigants, and the project is currently embarking on further field investigations here. It is suggested that these species of biofumigants may be more useful as pre-planting treatments to reduce levels of rot-causing pathogens in the soil, rather than as treatments for trees in established orchards.

The project has also been looking at avocado rootstocks, to determine if some are more or less susceptible to root rot disease. Glasshouse experiments involved Dactylonectria macrodidyma and Calonectria ilicicola pathogens, with findings suggesting there are some differences among rootstocks in reaction to inoculation with black root rot fungi, with an indication that clonal Dusa has less severe root necrosis than other seedling rootstocks.

Work is also progressing to optimise a rapid on-site test for diagnosing black root rot in avocado, and to evaluate management and treatment measures for growers and nursery operators.

Achieving more consistent yields of quality fruit in the Australian avocado industry (AV14000)

Status: Near-completed project

Key research provider: The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

What’s it all about? This project has been responsible for providing growers with the knowledge required to implement practices for more consistent high yields of good-quality avocados from year to year. It has had a strong focus on delivering workshops and resources to growers.

What’s the latest update? Outputs of the project have continued to include…

  • Workshops, including regional study group workshops and field days
  • Avo Alert emails – monthly reminders sent to all growers, specific to each major production region, designed to prompt growers about the orchard activities that should be considered in that particular month and the month ahead
  • Video resources
  • Production of content for other channels, such as articles for the Talking Avocados

The project has also undertaken a review on orchard nutrition practices, conducted with growers across the industry’s production regions. The results give a snapshot of current practices, and will be used to develop new nutrition guidelines for the industry.

With this iteration of the project due to conclude at the end of 2017, Hort Innovation is currently establishing new work in this space, following feedback from the SIAP and broader industry.

ACT NOW

Avocado industry and market data capture and analysis (AV16006)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Avocados Australia

What’s it all about? Some of the activities this project is responsible for include…

  • Maintenance of Infocado, the industry’s price-monitoring program
  • Maintenance of OrchardInfo, the industry’s planting and production program, with annual OrchardInfo Tree Census reports produced
  • Other relevant local data collection, analysis and reporting for the industry, including to identify and understand trends, supply, demand and price relationships
  • Global trade data analysis.
ACT NOW
  • A Facts at a glance 2016/17 fact sheet is about to be released by the project, providing an overview on all current key statistics for the industry, including production in detail, consumption info and export activity – find it on the Hort Innovation Avocado Fund page when available, and in industry channels
  • Access weekly and quarterly Infocado reports here
  • Access the 2016 OrchardInfo regional or national reports by contacting Sue Plunkett-Cole at Avocados Australia on 07 3846 6566 or at supplychain@avocado.org.au (these reports were produced under the previous iteration of this project and released in May 2017). At the time of writing, the 2017 OrchardInfo Tree Census surveys had been completed, so look out for updates on the latest round of information in coming Hortlinks.

Supply chain quality improvement – cool chain best practice guidelines (AV15010)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Applied Horticultural Research

What’s it all about? Beginning during 2016, this project rounds out the supply-chain quality improvement program that also involves projects Supply chain quality improvement – technologies and practices to reduce bruising (AV15009) and Supply chain quality improvement – retailer point of purchase improvements (AV15011). Project AV15010’s activities are designed to:

  • Increase the adoption of best-practice in cool-chain management and post-harvest handling across all sectors of the avocado supply chain, from orchard to retail
  • Help reduce the incidence of rots and other quality defects in avocados
  • Increase the awareness of factors that predispose fruit to quality defects across the supply chain.

What’s the latest update? While no project update was due to Hort Innovation in the period since the last Hortlink, at the time of last reporting the project was continuing to work towards the development of best-practice guidelines and materials for the industry. This included the development of a draft Avocado Supply Chain Problem Solver Guide that covering areas from production and picking, through the road to retail. A guide specific to the cool chain was also underway.

At the time of last reporting, other work had included the investigation of barriers to best-practice adoption with growers, packers, transporters, ripeners, wholesalers and retailers, and the project team was engaging closely with packhouses in the uptake of best-practice, including the use of demonstrations to illustrate approaches that can deliver fruit quality improvements.

ACT NOW

A sampling of best practices identified by the project’s review of research on factors affecting retail quality – and through work with growers and packers – was presented in the autumn edition of Talking Avocados. They include…

  • Pre-harvest: Reduce the risk of rots through an effective fungicide program and maintaining healthy trees
  • During harvest: Avoid dropping fruit; avoid picking when fruit are wet; clip rather than snap-pick if disease pressure is high
  • Packhouse: Avoid delays in cooling between harvest and packing; use post-harvest fungicide immediately after harvest; pick and pack within 24 hours; immediately forced-air-cool fruit to 5 to 7°C
  • Transport: Minimise breaks in the cool chain; maintain temperature at 5 to 7°C; use temperature loggers to verify the system is working
  • Wholesaler: Minimise fruit age (days from harvest)
  • Ripener: Ripen between 16 to 20°C, using the lower end of the range for mature fruit at risk of rots; store sprung fruit at 5°C; minimise holding time
  • Retail: Store ripe fruit at 5°C; minimise storage time.

Supply chain quality improvement – retailer point of purchase improvements (AV15011)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Applied Horticultural Research

What’s it all about? Beginning mid-2016, this project will help boost the consumer experience with avocados at the retail level by reducing the percentage of damaged fruit available on retail shelves.

Currently, damaged fruit can represent up to 22 to 23 per cent of avocados on display. Research suggests this is largely related to bruising due to consumer and retailer mishandling, and to internal rots due to fruit being held in the supply chain for too long. Ripening practices and temperature management in the supply chain also play a role.

As part of a supply chain quality-improvement program that also includes Supply chain quality improvement – cool chain best practice guidelines (AV15010) and Supply chain quality improvement – technologies and practices to reduce bruising (AV15009), this project will work towards reducing fruit damage to no more than 10 per cent. It will work closely with retailer representatives to find solutions and deliver education and training programs and tools.

What’s the latest update? As reported in the last edition of Hortlink, the project team has continued to consult with a cross-section of Australian retailers, including the majors and multi-store independent retailers. Meetings have been held to discuss retail education and training, new avocado merchandising concepts, and other ways to reduce the level of damaged avocados at retail.

At the time of last reporting, three point-of-purchase concepts were to be trialled in retail stores to help segregate ripe from unripe fruit, in turn reducing wastage and reducing squeezing by customers. They were to include:

  • Header cards visually showing avocados to “Buy now, eat now” or to “Buy now, eat later”
  • Coloured foam display units complementing the cards
  • Having fruit segregated by store staff and merchandisers into ripe vs hard sections, with these team members being briefed to sort primarily by colour, but also to judge firmness safely by hand.

As reported in the last edition of Hortlink, earlier work in the project that informed this approach was consumer research completed across 32 supermarkets and independents across Sydney. This looked at shopper behaviour when selecting avocados and findings included:

  • Many shoppers squeezed at least 10 avocados in a display before making a purchase decision (with one shopper observed squeezing 27)
  • The factors that most increased squeezing were having all hard fruit displayed or having unsorted display – both factors saw consumers squeezing an average of six fruit
  • When only hard fruit was displayed, 40 per cent of consumers didn’t make a purchase
  • When a mix of hard and ripe fruit was available, or all ripe fruit, up to 80 per cent of shoppers made a purchase
  • Consumers nearly always purchased two avocados from mixed (soft and hard) displays if the fruit was arranged to make this easy, but only bought two avocados about half the time if the display was unsorted.

Supply chain quality improvement – technologies and practices to reduce bruising (AV15009)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

What’s it all about? Beginning in 2016, this project is tackling the key issue of avocado bruising at the end of the supply chain, at both the retail and household level – where previous research suggests the majority of bruising occurs. The project is:

  • Developing and testing technologies to reduce handling by retailers and consumers, including tools for identifying ripeness
  • Documenting best practice to prevent fruit bruising at the retail level, producing information materials for use in retail education
  • Investigating any relationship between disease and flesh bruising
  • Reviewing and documenting contributing factors to fruit susceptibility to bruising.

With bruising affecting consumer decisions to repurchase, the ultimate goal is to improve consumer and retailer satisfaction, strengthening consumption of and demand for avocados.

This project is part of a broader supply chain quality-improvement program also involving Supply chain quality improvement – retailer point of purchase improvements (AV15011) and Supply chain quality improvement – cool chain best practice guidelines (AV15010).

What’s the latest update? While no official project update was due to Hort Innovation since the last update, you’ll find the latest details in the next edition. At the time of last reporting, the first order of business for this project had been investigating the factors that affect the bruising susceptibility of avocados – important work for helping guide the avenues explored as the project progresses. The review confirmed a link between greater bruising susceptibility with low dry matter content; advancing ripeness; post-harvest temperatures above 5°C; and post-harvest storage durations of one week or more.

A full recap of factors influencing flesh bruising can be found in this article, produced by the project for the winter 2017 edition of Talking Avocados.

At the time of last reporting, the project team had also been reviewing and documenting best practice to prevent fruit bruising at the retail level. This work suggested reduced flesh bruising may be achieved by…

  • Harvesting when dry matter is above 23 per cent, for Hass
  • Passing fruit through the supply chain in as short a time as possible
  • Holding ripened fruit at 5°C
  • Keeping drop heights below 10cm for rubbery to softening fruit
  • Handling fruit carefully without dropping or excessive squeezing from firm ripe stage onwards.

Other practices that are likely to reduce bruising were also to be communicated to industry as the project continues.

Finally, as per the last Hortlink, the project has been exploring novel and emerging technologies and practices that could reduce avocado handling by retailers and consumers, with several non-destructive technologies capable of assessing fruit firmness having been identified.

ACT NOW

In addition to the above bruising article, all project findings are being incorporated into the industry’s Best Practice Resource (BPR).

Pest status and management of six-spotted mite (Eotetranychus sexmaculatus) in WA avocado orchards (AV15012)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia

What’s it all about? Established in 2016, this project is investigating the six-spotted mite, an exotic insect pest that occurs in avocado orchards in the lower south-west of Western Australia. Six-spotted mite can cause avocado trees to shed leaves, predisposing fruit to sunburn and affecting tree vigour and subsequent fruit production.

The project will clarify the pest status of the mite in avocado orchards and investigate its management, including the role of mite predators and, potentially, miticides. The project will develop guidelines for growers to protect their crops, monitor their orchards and take action.

As well as avocado levy and Australian Government contributions, this work involves co-investment from Biological Services.

What’s the latest update? No official project update was due in the period since the last Hortlink, but at the time of last reporting the project was continuing to work towards a complete information package, incorporating integrated pest management (IPM) principles, to help growers protect avocado trees from the mite.

Mite predators that have been looked at – in field releases, orchard monitoring and in greenhouse studies – include:

  • Typhlodromus occidentalis, which the research suggests is the most effective predatory mite available to control six-spotted mite. It has been found to establish at good levels in release trees in both field-release and greenhouse settings.
  • Amblyseius elinae, which is the most abundant naturally occurring predatory mite in avocados, but does not appear to be solely focused on six-spotted mite.
  • Neoseiulus californicus, which was found to decrease six-spotted mite populations when initially released, but because the predators did not build in the orchards, the effect was short-lived. It was also found to control entire populations on young, single trees that were effected in the greenhouse studies, but did not with large, established trees.

During the 2017/18 season, the research team is looking at optimal strategies around the release of Typhlodromus occidentalis. It is anticipated that optimum release time is January, to allow the predator to build and feed on six-spotted mite between January and May, allowing the orchard to head in autumn with low six-spotted mite levels, which should carry over to spring.

They have also recommended growers only target a maximum of 20 per cent of their orchard with Typhlodromus occidentalis releases, to make sure the strategy is successful before treating the whole farm.

ACT NOW

Download this draft grower guide to identifying and monitoring six-spotted mite, produced earlier in the project.

Avocado industry minor use program (AV16002)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Hort Innovation

What’s it all about? Through this project, levy funds and Australian Government contributions are used to renew and apply for new minor use permits for the avocado industry. These submissions are prepared and submitted to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

The minor use program is also supported by the project Generation of residue, efficacy and crop safety data for pesticide applications in horticulture crops 2017 (ST16006) which, as the name suggests, is responsible for generating data to support a range of permit applications for a range of industries. Project ST16006 uses grant funds from the Australian Government’s Agvet program, which you can read more about here, plus some levy contributions.

What’s the latest update? All current minor use permits for the industry are searchable at portal.apvma.gov.au/permits. Permit updates are also circulated in Hort Innovation’s Growing Innovation e-newsletter, which levy-paying members receive monthly. Not a member? Sign up to our membership program for free here.

National avocado industry communications program (AV15002)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Avocados Australia

What’s it all about? Strong communication initiatives are essential to ensure the Australian avocado industry remains up-to-date with the latest R&D, emerging information, trends and issues both in Australia and overseas. By providing a consistent flow of relevant information, this project aims to keep growers and other industry stakeholders in a position to make informed business decisions and best-practices changes, and to support industry competitiveness.

What’s the latest update? A number of communication channels continue to be produced and maintained by this project, including but not limited to:

  • The industry’s quarterly Talking Avocados magazine, which is distributed in hard copy and uploaded to the Avocados Australia website, with editions available here
  • Fortnightly e-newsletter Guacamole, with editions available here
  • The Avocados Australia website, including maintenance of and addition of new modules to the industry’s Best Practice Resource (BPR), the online portal that includes training programs and other industry management content
  • Grower Update/industry notice e-alerts, as needed
  • Industry social media channels
  • Media relations, where required.
ACT NOW

Levy-funded industry communications are sent to all known Australian avocado growers. If you are a commercial avocado grower and do not currently receive Talking Avocados or would like to sign up for other communications, contact Avocados Australia.

Other R&D projects of note…
  • Horticulture trade intelligence reporting 2017-2019 (MT16011), which is responsible for providing easy-to-read and easy-to-act-upon trade performance information to Australia’s horticulture industry. Quarterly avocado reports are made available for download here, in the resources section of Hort Innovation’s Avocado Fund page.
  • Enhanced National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (MT16005), which is delivering a nationally coordinated bee-pest surveillance program to help safeguard honey-bee and pollinator-dependent industries in Australia. It builds upon the previous National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (MT12011), and includes upgrading sentinel hive arrays, strengthening relationships with surveillance operators, the introduction of new elements such as Asian hornet screening and more. The surveillance is designed to enable the early detection of high-priority pest incursions that can impact on honey bees, providing the best opportunity for successful pest eradication. The avocado industry is one of several contributors to the project’s work.

MARKETING SNAPSHOT

THE LATEST ACTIVITY THAT’S GROWING THE INDUSTRY


Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the avocado marketing levy into a range of activities to grow awareness and consumption, under the Hort Innovation Avocado Fund. Here’s a look at some of the most recent activity… 

Social media

Managed by Hort Innovation on behalf of the industry, the Australian Avocados Facebook page is an important component of the industry’s marketing program. The page is liked by more than 186,000 consumers (whose ‘likes’, comments and shares on the page reach even further to their own digital social circles), and has an ‘always on’ approach that keeps Aussie avocados top of mind for consumers year-round.

Over 1.6 million people were reached by Australian Avocados content in August, the second highest result to date ever for the page.

The top performer for this month was the ‘Avocado satisfaction’ post, which was a video of someone spinning the pit of an avocado inside a half-cut fruit. It gained the highest engagement rate (amount of comments, shares, ‘likes’ etc), creating a strong dialogue within the community – with many coming to the agreement that avocados are the best fruit and though the spinning pit was interesting, eating the avocado was better.

A recipe for ‘Avocado Fries’ was the next best hit, with many fans intrigued by the idea, which showed avocado as being more than just a spreadable fruit or an embellishment to a main dish. Instead ‘Avocado Fries’ changed the role of the avocado into a main dish of its own and the community loved it.

Video content

A three-month digital campaign featuring the clever ‘Perfect Match’ series of ads (seen here) is underway to keep avocados top of mind and impress the idea that avocados are a great match with other ingredients such as chicken, haloumi, salmon and chocolate.

The latest digital activity has been live for 11 weeks, with a month remaining of the activity. This campaign involves playing the 30-second television commercials, and includes placements on catch-up TV sites such as Tenplay, 9NOW and PLUS7, and on contextually relevant websites such as taste.com.au, mamamia.com and health.com.

Connected and catch-up TV services continue to lead the way, consistently averaging over 90 per cent for completion rate (the rate at which people watch the video to the end), which is an excellent result considering the 30-second length of the ads. We are also seeing great results through targeting men – showing there is a male audience for good avocado content, with 92.92 per cent of all impressions being watched to completion on male-focused sites such as menshealth.com.au.

Digital activity with MyFoodBook

Australian Avocados previously worked with MyFoodBook (www.myfoodbook.com.au) – a recipe and cookbook community that includes more than 200,000 subscribers, and promotes recipes to more than 2.8 million people each month – to develop a range of avocado recipes for use across social media, and the Australian Avocados website, and the MyFoodBook platform.

The recipes have now been on the MyFoodBook website for a year, and have proved very popular with consumers. In that year, ending October 1, 2017, the Australian Avocados recipes have been viewed more than 154,000 times. The most popular recipe was an avocado, garlic and cheese pull-apart bread, which had more than 23,000 engagements, which include recipe views, saves, shares, video views and social actions.

This activity is designed to keep reminding and inspiring consumers of the easy, versatile uses for avocados that make meals extra-special.

Cinema campaign

An Australian Avocado out-of-home cinema campaign started on September 21 and ran through to November 18, 2017, to bring avocado messaging to an engaged audience – keeping the fruit top of mind and reminding consumers of their versatility across meal occasions.

The Perfect Match series of ads was once again chosen as the communication tool, with the videos’ funny scripts and cleverly made visuals suiting the cinema environment perfectly.

The first burst of activity ran during the school holidays and the October public holiday in order to capitalise on increases in audiences at this time, while the second burst of cinema activity coordinated with blockbuster releases such as Thor: Ragnarok and Blade Runner 2049.

A rotation of two Perfect Match videos – Avocados & Chocolate and Avocados & Haloumi – were screened more than a combined 596 times. Final reach numbers are due shortly.

In-store sampling

Following meetings with Woolworths, 100 in-store demonstrations were held across Woolworths stores in October, showcasing avocados in smoothies.

In-store sampling is a highly popular direct marketing tactic that has many benefits, including proven conversion to sales, improved brand loyalty and brand recognition. Rather than just talking about how great a product tastes, sampling literally puts it in consumers’ mouths, with the product then speaking for itself. Introducing a new way of using avocados for many Australians via smoothies fit with the everyday gourmet pillar of the marketing strategy, and helped offer a solution to consumers who don’t know what to do with “the other half”.

There were two Thursday – Saturday sampling periods across October 21-23 and then October 26-28. Each session ran for four hours, and involved sampling avocado smoothies and handing out recipe cards. The objective of the in-store demonstrations was to demonstrate the ease of use and versatility of avocados to consumers via a high traffic retailer at point of purchase, with the locations picked based on foot traffic and performance of stores, with a focus on busy metro stores.

Over the 100 sessions, there was a total of 13,921 interactions with customers, and 8,918 samples handed out. This equals on average 89 samples handed out to consumers per session.

Consumers loved the smoothies, which was shown both by their comments, and the amount of avocados sold at the stores during the demonstrations. There were 10,178 avocados sold over the sampling period, equating to more than 102 per four-hour session, a conversion rate of 118 per cent when you look at the number of samples handed out, with the assumption that one avocado sold = one sale.

The promotional staff also used the demonstrations as an opportunity to ask shoppers questions about their attitudes to avocados, and helped educate shoppers on how to pick the perfect avocado based on when they wanted to consume it.

Feedback on the smoothie was overwhelmingly positive, with comments including “It tastes so good! I usually have my avocados on toast, never thought of making a smoothie,” and “I love that creamy texture the avocado adds to the smoothie”.

Australian Avocados on television

Australian Avocados were the focus of a segment on television program Studio 10 on Monday, September 11. Celebrity chef Damian Heads cooked up three recipes that showcased the versatility and ease of using avocados in a variety of dishes.

Cooking live on set, Damian prepared an avocado smoothie, avocado salsa with steak, and avocado brownies. The segment was hosted by Ita Buttrose and Sarah Harris, with all the shows’ hosts then sampling the food that Damian prepared.

Over 133,600 people tuned into the segment, and with a key section of the viewers being young mothers who are responsible for the household shopping, it was a great environment to get the key messaging out. You can view the segment here.

Experiential activation – Good Fat by Australian Avocados

Engaging and inspiring consumers amongst a very cluttered world of advertising messages can be difficult sometimes and therefore requires a little something extra to cut through. That’s why disruptive and highly engaging marketing activities are sometimes employed. In the Australian Avocados case, a pop-up restaurant was opened in Sydney’s Surry Hills for the month of November (1-30) to demonstrate first-hand just how delicious, versatile and healthy avocados are. It also gave media something extra special to talk about.

Following on the overwhelming love for avocados in Australia and the huge support seen for the avocado cafés in Amsterdam and New York, it made sense that Australia should have its own dedicated café.

Recipes covering all meal occasions such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks were designed for the menu to deliver that message of versatility and how avocados make a meal extra special. All of the menu items were designed to be cooked at home and so all of the recipes from the restaurant have been featured on the specially designed website supporting the pop-up, www.goodfatsydney.com, so that everyone in the country can experience the Good Fat dishes.

The response across media has been incredible, with coverage of Good Fat appearing in 265 media articles and social posts, with the opportunity to be seen by 153.5 million people.

To further break this down, Good Fat coverage has appeared in 103 media articles, including 23 international articles, with the opportunity to be seen by 38.9 million people. Breaking down the social coverage, Good Fat has appeared in 162 social posts, reaching 114.5 million people.

The pop-up went through more than 120kg of avocados each week to keep up with demand, with the most popular dishes being ones showcasing avocado in a way people have often never tried. These included the ‘Avoconetto’ – an interesting avocado ice cream dessert, with a tart pumpkin jam; the ‘Avoschetta’ – a house=made pistachio dukkah served with avocado and whipped feta; the ‘ABC Bites’ – avocado, bacon, poached chicken, mozzarella and potato bites, served with a spicy sriracha mayo; and avocado fries served with preserved lemon aioli.

For any questions relating to the Avocado Fund marketing activities, contact Hort Innovation Marketing Manager Claire Tindale-Penning at claire.tindale-penning@horticulture.com.au.

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2017-12-07T10:24:38+00:00