Guacamole: A party in a (Super) Bowl

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At the start of the 21st century, Americans consumed a mere 8 million pounds of avocados during Super Bowl Sunday. But that has all changed thanks in part to the marketing efforts of Hass Avocados and our burgeoning Hispanic immigrant population.

This coming Sunday, February 5, it’s predicted that people will scoop 90 million pounds of guacamole during the big game, that’s roughly 200 million avocados, but who’s keeping score.

Guac has become so much a part of the Super Bowl party cultural, that few can imagine doing without. Runners up in the party patter menu will be pizza—with predictions that 20 million will be served to family and guests at home and at watch parties.  Chips and dips—well that’s just too many to count. And chicken wings. Those spicy morsels dipped in Ranch dressing will top the list at 1.5 billion. Whew. Super Bowl has morphed from an athletic event to the biggest snacking day of the year.

There’s an interesting piece on the Internet that attests to the advertising efforts that went into promoting guacamole as the dip of choice during the Super Bowl. Avocados are in season four times a year, with the Super Bowl falling into one of those times.

So Hass Avocado jumped on that (along with Halloween and New Year’s Eve, both times when people whip up guac for dipping.) It wasn’t easy going at first. The Haas Avocado Board had to first convince grocery stores to heavy up on avocados during Super Bowl week. Not until the grocery stores started stocking the green fruit would partiers get serious about making dip.

The avocado industry spends $37 million a year on marketing and promotion, but to get guac as a super star it had to get serious about promotions: sweepstakes, recipe contests, promotions for tailgate parties, sports television partnership, endorsements and, of course, social media.

Now 16 years later, all the effort continues to pay off. Guac has assumed its rightful place on the coffee table and GreenAcres Market is pleased to carry extra-large avocados during the dipping seasons.

Mick, our produce manager at GreenAcres-Bradley Fair, will be advertising extra-large organic avocados for 99 cents each starting Wednesday, February 1. Time to get out your best guac recipe and make that yummy dip. Of course, if you’re not inclined to DIY, GreenAcres will have tubs of our house-made guac in the Grab & Go, so no one should do without.

Simcha Weinstein, Director of Marketing for Albert’s Organics sends us this to further our education about everyone’s favorite “fruit”:

  • Avocados are a fruit, not a vegetable.
  • In Brazil avocados mixed in with ice cream is a very popular dessert.
  • The avocado is also called an Alligator Pear because of its pear-like shape and its bumpy green skin.
  • California produces about 90% of the nation’s avocado crop.
  • San Diego County is the Avocado Capital of the U.S., producing 60% of all the avocados grown in California.
  • There are about 7,000 avocado groves in California; the average size is around 10 acres.
  • A single California Avocado tree can produce about 500 avocados (or 200 pounds of fruit) a year, although the usual average is about 60 pounds from 150 avocados.
  • There are seven varieties of avocados grown commercially in California, but the Hass is the most popular, accounting for approximately 95% of the total crop volume.
  • The oldest living avocado tree is found on the University of California, Berkeley campus and was planted in 1879.
  • About 43% of all U.S. households buy avocados.
  • To tell if an avocado is really perfectly ripe, hold it in the palm of your hand and gently squeeze. Hard as a rock? Not ripe. Squishy? Overripe. Have as much give as chilled butter? Perfectly ripe.
  • Avocados are cholesterol and sodium-free.
  • Avocados have the highest fiber content of any fruit and contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate.
  • Avocados will not ripen on the tree. They must be picked from the tree to initiate ripening. The leaves supply a substance that prevents ripening. The best way to store avocados is to leave them on the tree; they will store for 7 months or more when left on the tree.