Avocado Express Volume 1 #2

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En Español VOL. 1 #2
Avocado Express
by Emiliano Escobedo, Executive Director
"Our look now imparts a strong sense for the future."
Is the Hass Avocado Board of 2012 the same as the HAB that started in 2003? Does it look the same? Feel the same? Does it have the same mission and aspirations? Most observers who have followed HAB progress since the USDA's Promotion Order became operative in 2003 may realize a pretty big world of difference between old and new.

The first-decade HAB set a course of discovery and worked hard at collaboratively establishing an expanded category across the nation. For the second-decade (and beyond) HAB is dedicated to growing demand but doing it with a heavy emphasis on nutrition research and nutrition marketing.

HAB's rebranding - exhibited for the first time in this edition of Avocado Express - aims to build upon the original HAB accomplishments and mark an identity for the future. A new logo with new color is part of an overall rebranding that aims at expressing the global leadership that HAB represents in the avocado industry.

So what does the new look express? "In terms of personality, the logo and the typefaces used in various applications set a more modern tone," says HAB Executive Director Emiliano Escobedo. "Our old look served us well in the first decade of our existence. It was more formal and traditional and expressed HAB's focus on the U.S."

"Our look now imparts a strong sense for the future. We are an organization that represents leadership and points to a future with growth driven not only by Board efforts but by the commitment to continue to create demand across the U.S. And, importantly, we take a global leadership position in terms of category expertise."

That identity is expressed not only in design but also in color. It's hard to imagine avocado identity without the color green. But the reason it is still in use here is that green denotes many positive aspects that Hass avocados possess - fertility, nature, harmony, honesty and even rebirth.

HAB also has marched boldly into new color territory, applying what is best described as a terra cotta color - or burnt orange -- that denotes such attributes as creativity, confidence, invigoration, uniqueness, energy, vibrancy and health.

Combined, the new branding creates a look and feel that will stand HAB in good stead for many years to come. Expect to see it expressed in all materials that HAB produces.

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Jimmy Lotufo Profile JIMMY LOTUFO
"The changes, challenges, and growth of the avocado category keeps me pumped up."
Jimmy Lotufo, chairman of the Hass Avocado Board, says he's still as excited to be in the avocado business as he was 15 years ago when he switched his focus from tropical fruits to Hass avocados -- little known in many parts of the US produce market.

"The changes, challenges, and growth of the avocado category keeps me pumped up," he says. "We were selling about 900 million pounds of avocados a short 6 years ago and now we are approaching 1.5 billion pounds heading for 2 billion. That's exciting!"

Mr. Lotufo's work with Rosemont Farms, a subsidiary of C.H. Robinson, one of the world's largest logistics companies, finds him managing production, imports, sales, and distribution nationally for Rosemont Farms branded Hass avocados. With production and imports from California, Chile, Mexico and Peru, Rosemont Farms uses the logistical strength of C.H. Robinson to distribute them to retailers, food service operators and wholesalers nationwide. At the same time he spends significant time abreast of global market conditions and developments as well as contributing time in his volunteer role as HAB chairman.

"What makes this so enjoyable in addition to the 12 percent expansion per-year in our category," Lotufo says, "is that I'm working with some of the most intelligent people in the industry that have a laser-focus on growing the avocado category."

In the business for more than 30 years, Mr. Lotufo credits his success in the produce industry to a strong mentor, Don Joseph, owner of Victor Joseph and Sons out of Palisades Park, N.J. "I provided Don with bilingual services, translating shipping manifests from Chile, for example. He provided me with a ground-floor opportunity that converted me from an accountant to a capable produce executive."

Being schooled the old-fashioned way, Jimmy says, included everything from manning the transportation desk and learning every other facet of the business including sales.

"Avocados are now a global product," he says. "Health-conscious Americans now see them as part of a healthy lifestyle, not always the case 10 or 15 years ago."

Mr. Lotufo says the emphasis on healthy living is helping the category increase demand for Hass avocados. He believes that the Hass Avocado Board's current focus on nutrition research will pay dividends for both the industry and consumers. "Our challenge is to make sure we continue to grow demand. Everybody - all of our industry members and consumers as well - benefit from that."  

See the latest avocado volume figures here.

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