Avocado Express Volume 1 #5

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En Español VOL. 1 #5
Focusing on Nutritional Benefits
by Emiliano Escobedo, Executive Director
With the recent publication of the UCLA avocado burger study, the science is clear: a pilot study on 11 healthy men found that eating one-half of a fresh medium Hass avocado with a burger, rather than eating a burger alone, may curb the production of compounds that contribute to inflammation. Inflammation is a risk factor that may be associated with heart disease. The industry needs to come together and focus on the nutritional benefits of Hass avocados in their marketing efforts. As you may have heard in the news recently, HAB is doing its part and now we need you to join us in spreading the word.  

Screenshot of Nutrition Toolkit Profile  
In Steve Jobs' biography, Walter Isaacson, points out that "Jobs could taste two avocados that most mortals would find indistinguish-
able, and declare that one was the best avocado ever grown and the other inedible."

The last issue of Avocado Express highlighted the activities of two of HAB's four strategic priorities: International Representation and Supply and Demand Data Collection System. Following is a discussion of the other two: Nutrition Research/Build Demand, and Quality.

Nutrition Research/Build Demand
HAB set out in 2010 to build a nutrition research pipeline based on four pillars where the existing body of research looked most promising: heart, weight, diabetes and healthy living. The goal has been to establish a pipeline of good news that would build over time, so HAB can continually tell a stronger nutrition story that is grounded in science.

Critical to HAB's strategy is that these studies are published in peer-reviewed journals. This lends credibility to the research, as third-party experts are reviewing and recommending the paper for publication and admission into the scientific community.

HAB's nutrition research program currently includes seven human clinical studies; none of HAB's studies are in vitro or animal studies. The research is being conducted by leading investigators and human nutrition centers.

HAB plans to communicate about every study that is published in a peer-reviewed journal, with varying degrees of support depending on the news value of the result, to help build excitement about emerging findings, and to build enthusiasm for the growing number of reasons to believe in the positive contributions of avocados.

The goal of the nutrition research and demand building programs is to develop a single-minded marketing and research strategy that leverages category resources and nutrition science to drive avocado consumption and enhance value to the consumer.

HAB's plan is to develop a toolbox with resources including approved messages and insights that can be implemented by the industry in all nutrition marketing programs and for HAB to implement national communication programs while seeking collaboration from member organizations to fully maximize nutrition research.

To this end, a new toolkit of communications resources was recently developed to promote the first HAB-funded published study, "Hass Avocado Modulates Postprandial Vascular Reactivity and Postprandial Inflammatory Responses to a Hamburger Meal in Healthy Volunteers." You can find all of the UCLA resources on HAB's web site here: http://www.avocadocentral.com/nutrition/nutrition-professionals/nutrition-materials-toolkit

Can you point out any similarities between apples, employees and avocados? You can start by reading this article published in the Wall Street Journal in the fall of 2011. In our industry "shoulder periods" have presented many challenges, among them is the shift in dry matter levels found in the avocados coming from regions that are starting their season versus those coming from areas where the season is ending. One thing that is for sure is that consumers prefer avocados that taste good. When avocados don't taste good enough, the assumption is that other avocados don't taste good either; as a result consumer confidence diminishes, slowing down demand.

One way to convert this "shoulder period" challenge into an opportunity for the industry is by understanding the consumer preferences when it comes to avocado consumption. The Hass Avocado Board is supporting the industry to better understand the definition of quality and consumer preferences. The Quality Committee, chaired by Board Director Reuben Hofshi, works to increase consumer demand for avocados by conducting research that identifies dry matter levels and other Hass avocado sensory attributes acceptable to U.S. consumers, benefitting all stakeholders.

In the last strategic planning meeting, Chair Reuben Hofshi reported that HAB has agreed to fund the initial round of research into quality, with resulting information going back only to each of the countries whose fruit is part of the study. To manage the process, HAB has hired a research manager who is not affiliated with any country that produces and sells avocados in the U.S.
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