Americans’ love of guacamole continues to rise, which means its importance in the deli is—and will remain—greater than ever before.
Guacamole has continued to see space expansion in the deli, says Neha Jikaria Goradia, associate director of marketing for White Plains, NY-based Sabra Dipping Co., as broader avocado consumption in the United States continues to grow. “As packaged guacamole rides the coattails of avocado growth, we see increasing varieties and usage occasions at the shelf—products for daily breakfast, lunch and snacking as well as products for at-home meals and entertaining.”
“Authenticity in guacamole has been a major driver of customers’ choice on their purchases,” notes Ken Dedic, vice president of sales and marketing for Jaffa Salads in Mundelein, IL. “We see that a more ‘homestyle’ or ‘restaurant style’ is being preferred. The customers prefer to see chunks of avocado and fresh vegetables— piece identity—of which makes them feel that it’s not overly manufactured and more scratch-made.”
Indeed, many consumers are getting their first experience of guacamole
in restaurants. The Chipotle restaurant chain recently launched “Guac Mode,” a promotion that brings the promise of free guacamole and other unnamed extras for anyone who signs up for the Mexicaninspired restaurant’s rewards program. “Our fans absolutely love our fresh, handmade guac, especially when it’s not extra,” chief marketing officer Chris Brandt said in a release. “It’s been an incredible first year of Chipotle Rewards, and initiating Guac Mode, which gives our members free guac in February and extras all year long, is a perfect way to thank our loyal customers.”
A Healthy Hand
The health benefits of the fruit itself is a powerful marketing tool that retailers can take advantage of.
Deli, says Dedic, is more than a destination for classic salads. “With healthy
alternatives like guacamole, at around 40 calories per serving, the deli can be a great way to focus on healthy dips. And like before, ‘Where there are fresh-made chips, there is not a better amigo than guacamole.’”
All of Jaffa’s products are vegan, gluten- free, certified CRC kosher and use
non-GMO ingredients. They contain no meat, no dairy, no gluten, no fillers and no artificial colors, just fresh ingredients and
spices that make for authentic flavors.
Dedic calls avocado “a great way” to market guacamole. “Health Harvard says it’s ‘a great source of mono-unsaturated fats, high in fiber and an all-out superfood in regard to other vitamins like B5 and B6, potassium K, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C and folate.’”
This is a product category with a great story to tell about healthy eating.
Deli operators are also benefitting from line extensions. Sabra recently launched a Breakfast Avocado Toast, which has introduced
a new occasion to the packaged guacamole category. “We’re also seeing
new flavors,” Goradia points out. “Spicy continues to be a major trend executed in different ways, with different types of peppers.”
Jaffa’s guacamole features chunks of avocado, tomatoes, onions and fresh cilantro. Deli CPG guacamole is a convenience item, Dedic says, and allows wholesalers to have regulated prices year-round, despite the commodity fluctuations of the raw materials—in this case, avocado. Potassium sorbate is added to ensure freshness.
“The avocado market can easily go over double its price at certain times of the year,” Dedic points out. “It’s convenient because all the work is done, and all you have to do is open and enjoy. It also has an extended shelf-life.”
The latest in guacamole development has been its carry-over into salsa, according to Dedic. “There are lots of products available that have avocado added to a base salsa, which creates a more indulgent salsa.” Jaffa
is currently in development of a guacamole salsa that will be launched later this year.
How innovative are Americans getting with guacamole? In a new survey of
2,000 Americans conducted by OnePoll aimed to uncover the most unusual food combinations, one of the combinations that stood out among respondents was cookies dipped in guacamole.
As guacamole usage expands, so do the types of food pairings. Guacamole and avocado- based products “are not just for tortilla chips,” Goradia suggests. “Consumers get excited about the many ways you can eat guacamole, beyond just as a dip. Show consumers you can pair it with different cuisines, top it on your burgers and grilled meat or fish, use it on toast and use it in recipes.”
Executives at Sabra favor cross promoting and cross merchandising with partner foods, including but not limited to chips, veggies and bread as well as meal kits and ingredients in popular recipes.
Most American consumers enjoy guacamole with chips, Dedic points out, “and that’s great. Now people are starting to enjoy it on eggs for breakfast, as an alternative to mayonnaise on a sandwich or on everyone’s favorite ‘avocado toast.’”
His company also promotes its Jaffa Guacamole to be used as a topper. A
simple way to create a unique dip, the company advises, is to put a dollop of
Jaffa Guacamole on top of Jaffa Original Hummus. Says Dedic, “This is a guaranteedwinner for any get-together.”
Another way to stimulate additional sales activity is to cross merchandise, keeping in mind guacamole’s popularity as a sandwich spread. “With innovation like ‘chipotle chicken breast’ as a sliced deli meat item,” Dedic says, “what could be better than a creamy spread like guacamole to complete the ultimate sandwich?”
In addition, he continues, more and more delis are frying their own chips “and Jaffa Guacamole coolers love to be surrounded with dozens of fresh bags of chips.” Getting the meat department to cross over and promote “Taco Tuesday” is another effective way to cross merchandise.
As guacamole usage continues to expand beyond dipping, says Goradia,
retailers should think of ways to make cross promotions bigger, “potentially through cross category displays throughout the year.
It’s natural to want to elevate guacamole during key moments—for example, Super Bowl and Cinco de Mayo are some of the biggest guacamole consumption moments of the year. But unlike many other indulgent
dips like cheese, guacamole has become a popular everyday food, not just a partyfood. So to become the guacamole destination, think more about cross promoting regularly versus just for special occasions.”
The future of guacamole in deli departments appears to be bright. Upward trends in avocado consumption are likely to continue driving guacamole growth, Goradia predicts, “so don’t ignore these trends when making space, and support allocation decisions for guacamole.”