World Avocado Organization ad campaign

Global industry body the World Avocado Organization has teamed up with Tesco for its first major European marketing push.

The non-profit body, launched last year in a bid to boost global consumption and backed by the top avocado producing countries, has launched a €2.5m generic marketing campaign. It uses the tagline ‘Avocado - the Fruit of Life’, and focuses primarily on the UK, France and Germany.

The campaign centres on PR, social media, outdoor and digital activity, alongside the launch of a multilingual online cookbook.

The WAO has also partnered with key supermarkets in key markets to further promote the fruit, including Costco and Tesco in the UK, and the likes of Lidl and Carrefour in France.

As part of the push, Costco staged a ‘transatlantic demo’ in conjunction with its stores in the US last week. Tesco is staging an ‘al fresco’ avocado roadshow until the end of August, which will see it transport an outdoor eating area supplying avocado-topped food to 92 stores across the country - reaching up to 250,000 people.

Other activity includes avocado-branded London buses and posters.

The WAO wanted to fuel the UK’s avocado craze by helping consumers learn more about the fruit’s versatility, said CEO Xavier Equihua.

“In 2016, Europeans ate more than 370,000 tonnes of avocados and by the end of 2017 we expect to see this increase to a whopping 400,000 tonnes,” he added. “Europe is the world’s second-largest market for avocado. It’s growing so fast, could it be the largest in five years?”

Equihua added that the newest trend for the fruit this year was to have it as a topping on hot dogs. The WAO represents producers, exporters and importers in countries such as Mexico, the US, Peru and South Africa.

Tattooed fruit

It comes as M&S this week unveiled a new trial of laser-labelled avocados in stores. The retailer said the initiative was a “cost-effective, eco-friendly alternative to traditional stickering”, which could ultimately save it 10 tonnes of labels and backing paper and five tonnes of adhesive every year on avocados alone.

The trial launched in selected stores on 19 June and follows an earlier experiment with tattooed citrus fruit (using different technology) in 2014.

The laser technology works by shining intense light on to the fruit’s skin, which retracts back and discolours only the very top layer. The process was not destructive to the fruit and can be very precise, M&S said. The avocados will be lasered with the M&S logo, best before date, country of origin and product code for entering at the till.

“When we first saw the technology in Sweden a couple of years ago I knew we had to get involved,” said M&S fruit technologist Charlie Curtis.

“We’ve been following it for a while and are so excited to finally be launching it on avocados. Sustainability is at the heart of our business and the laser labelling is a brilliant way for us to reduce packaging and energy use,” he added.

“Providing all goes well with the avocado lasering, we could look at rolling the technology out to all sorts of other fruit and vegetables in the future. We have the potential to reduce packaging exponentially which is very exciting.”

M&S avocado laser labeling