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The radical transformation of the avocado

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the rise in popularity of the avocado fruit in the United States, tracing its journey from being an obscure "alligator pear" to becoming a ubiquitous and beloved ingredient. It explores the marketing and promotional efforts that helped drive the avocado's surge in consumption, as well as the environmental and criminal challenges that have come with its increased production.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] The Avocado's Journey to Prominence

1. What were some of the early challenges faced by the avocado in gaining popularity in the US?

  • The avocado was initially hard to come by and expensive, with luxury hotels in New York and San Francisco paying $1 (around $25 today) per fruit to import them.
  • The fruit's original name, "alligator pear," did not help with its appeal.
  • Avocados were seen as a strange and unfamiliar fruit, and the public was slow to adopt them, with some people unsure of how to properly prepare and eat them.

2. How did the Hass avocado variety come about and impact the fruit's popularity?

  • Rudolph Hass, a postman and amateur farmer, discovered a unique avocado variety with dark, pebbly skin while trying to graft a different type of avocado.
  • Hass's Hass avocado variety quickly surpassed the Fuerte as the avocado of choice on the West Coast.
  • The Hass avocado's size, texture, and stability during transport contributed to its growing popularity.

[02] Marketing and Promotion Efforts

1. What were some of the innovative marketing strategies used to promote the avocado?

  • The PR agency Hill & Knowlton created a mascot named "Mr. Ripe Guy," a human-turned-avocado character, to help "humanize the fruit" and make people feel more comfortable with it.
  • The agency capitalized on events like St. Patrick's Day, sending Mr. Ripe Guy to local bars to try and generate media attention.
  • They also organized a "Guacamole Bowl" contest around the Super Bowl, enlisting the help of the NFL and its players, which helped drive a surge in avocado consumption during the event.

2. How did changes in government policies and regulations impact the avocado's growth?

  • The US government lifted import restrictions on Mexican avocados, allowing for a greater supply to meet the growing demand.
  • The government also passed a law in 2000 to create a promotional program to further boost domestic avocado consumption, which had already spiked 70% in California by that time.

[03] Challenges and Impacts

1. What are some of the environmental and criminal challenges associated with the avocado's rise in popularity?

  • The increase in avocado production has led to issues such as ravaged forests, water shortages, and even small earthquakes in the regions where they are grown.
  • There has also been a rise in cartel violence against avocado farmers in Mexico, where half the world's avocado supply is grown.

2. What are the current goals of the California Avocado Commission?

  • The California Avocado Commission's latest goal is to make the avocado America's favorite fruit by 2025, continuing to pour money into marketing and promotion efforts.
Shared by Daniel Chen ยท
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