Avocado sales are skyrocketing, and guacamole- and salsa-dip company Fresherized Foods, Fort Worth, TX, is capitalizing on this trend, with new packaging formats that make it easier for consumers to serve and to snack on its all-natural Wholly Guacamole brand dips. The new formats include an easy peel-and-serve tray in 8- and 16-oz sizes, and a 100-calorie cup for single-serve, on-the-go snacking.
“Last year, AC Nielsen found avocado sales increased an incredible 34 percent,” says Tracey Altman, Vice President of Marketing at Fresherized Foods. “What that means to us is that we must work to meet the demands of consumers who are changing how much they use avocados and the ways in which they enjoy them. So of course, new packaging is a top priority for us.”
The phenomenal growth in avocado sales can be traced to several consumer trends, such as an increase in snacking, a desire for fresher, healthier foods, and a greater interest in ethnic ingredients and flavors. “The [avocado] product is also available year ’round,” adds Altman.
In the mid-90s, Fresherized Foods pioneered the use of High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP) for guacamole to preserve its all-natural product without heat or chemicals. HPP is a pressure-based process that pasteurizes product post-packaging. Fresherized Foods’ most recent retail pack comprised a squeezable film pouch in 7- and 14-oz sizes. The peel-and-serve tray was created in response to consumer requests for an easy-to-open package. “The plastic tray makes it easy for dipping, as consumers don’t need to squeeze the product into a bowl,” says Altman.
The new trays, however, did require some modification to the HPP process and to an existing tray design used by Fresherized Foods in other areas of its business. Explains company Vice President of Operations Jeff Morris, “The bags allowed for much higher capacity in the HPP process and helped us to keep up with the demand from our consumers. Since moving from the bags into trays, we have reconfigured our HPP machines to provide the capacity and throughput required to help reduce costs and remain energy-efficient.”
A previous tray design with ridges was also reengineered to remove air as well as enable consumers to extract the entire product from the container. According to Morris, the tray also allows for a chunkier guacamole, as the “chunk integrity” stays intact during the HPP process. Whereas, he says, bags processed using HPP resulted in a creamier product.
For those consumers looking for a portable, on-the-go option for guacamole, Fresherized Foods introduced Wholly Guacamole Minis, a 2-oz portion size in a flexible film cup, sold in four- and six-pack cartons. “We want Wholly Guacamole products enjoyed in the car, at work, or at any play date, basically anytime by both adults and children,” says Altman. “These days, guacamole goes way beyond the party chip. Consumers can enjoy our Minis with veggies or pretzels, or as a spread substitute for mayo on their sandwiches.”
The format is the second in the 100-calorie snack-pack category from Fresherized Foods. Another version, introduced last year, uses individual pouches, perforated in strips, available in a 16-pack carton size.
Both the tray and portion packs are contained within secondary cartons that use color coding to differentiate varieties; there are four flavors in each package type. The cartons use strategically placed cutouts within illustrations to allow consumers to see the product inside. Callouts read, “same great guac, NEW easy peel tray,” and “The same great avo in new cups!” While the tray pack advises consumers to “dip it, top it, spread it, love it,” the mini carton instructs, “Peel it. Dip it. Squeeze it. Love it!”
Wholly Guacamole brand dips in trays and mini cups are available nationwide, priced from $1.99 to $5.99 for the trays, and from $3.99 to $4.29 for four-pack and $5.29 to $5.99 for six-pack mini cup cartons.