Client Story

Avocados from Mexico

Becoming a US lifestyle phenomenon

By 2018, Avocados from Mexico had four award-winning Super Bowl adverts and brand recognition across the US, but the product itself was considered a novel superfood rather than a diet staple. Together, we developed a tailored growth strategy that grew the volume of avocado imports to nearly two-and-a-half billion pounds by 2021 and increased market share to 80 percent by educating the public and raising awareness of the many use cases an avocado has. Today, avocados are a base for countless meals and desserts – and Avocados from Mexico is leading the charge.

Growing market share to secure livelihoods

Avocados from Mexico (AFM) is a non-profit marketing organisation supporting tens of thousands of avocado farmers in Mexico, as well as close to 80 packing companies and 200 US importers. At the start of 2018, AFM had grown its presence in the US with well-placed advertisements and social media campaigns, and leaders wanted to build off this success and make avocados a true staple of the US diet.

As a major export of Mexico, Hass avocados are a lifeline to Mexican growers. The Mexican avocado industry creates approximately 78,000 direct and permanent jobs and 310,000 indirect and seasonal jobs and added $6.1 Billion in U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021/2022. Being able to project US demand would enable government agencies and growers to work together to allocate land, navigate regulatory approvals, and plan production in new areas. AFM also needed to be ready to anticipate potential risks that could threaten the livelihoods of tens of thousands of farmers.

Similarly, ongoing increases in supply and demand would require more staff at AFM to help guide growth, marketing programmes, and advertising.

Our brand had significant opportunities for continued growth, but we needed help aligning our investments to the right areas. In addition, we sought to understand and mitigate downstream risks to protect our producers, packers, and importers.”
CEO, Avocados from Mexico

Identifying new use cases for a familiar product

We met with the AFM team to understand objectives and challenges. Together, we decided to create three different work streams: a supply forecast, a growth strategy, and an organisational assessment. All three work streams were run in parallel, and we shared learnings across them.

The supply chain team met with Mexican producers and packers to learn more about their processes and worked with a local university to create a multi-year supply forecast. Jim Eckels, PA Growth Strategy expert explained, “getting this forecast right was critical for two reasons: firstly, so retailers could predict stock levels and avoid unhappy customers, and secondly, to prevent avocados spoiling in the supply chain due to supply outpacing demand.” He continued, “the supply of avocados also influences AFM's marketing budget so if they don't know what volume will look like, they can't plan their marketing activities correctly”.

We also undertook a risk assessment of the supply chain, identifying issues that could disrupt product flows such as trade agreement changes, labour disputes, food safety issues, or unexpected weather.

Going for growth

In parallel to the supply chain work, AFM needed to evaluate expansion opportunities and develop a growth plan. Together, we devised a plan that focused on education, teaching unfamiliar US consumers and food service employees how to pick, store, and prepare avocados. The plan also included recipe inspiration to help people get creative with avocados.

A key revelation was that we could drive significant growth by enabling new use cases by convincing core customers to eat more avocados, rather than aggressively targeting new customers who may never have tried one.”
CEO, Avocados from Mexico

For example, many US consumers ate guacamole, but didn’t regularly use avocados in burritos, sandwiches, salads, or on toast until recently. As a result, AFM was able to focus its marketing on these growth areas.

Our organisational team spent time with AFM staff to understand their objectives and challenges, interviewing leaders to understand leading practices at similar trade associations and Fortune 500 companies that promoted products like cotton and cranberries. This information was critical in informing AFM’s strategy.

“While discussing PA’s organisational framework, our team realised that we needed to build a high-performance culture to achieve our growth aspirations,” says Luque. “PA helped us understand how we would need to evolve our culture, processes, and workforce model to achieve our goals.”

Building a marketing and innovation engine

As a result of our collaboration, AFM gained a clear picture of where to prioritise its go-to-market efforts for maximum growth. This included investing in retail advertising, in-store promotions, recipe inspiration, and consumer education. The organisation recommended pricing and promotional strategies to its business partners to achieve business goals and navigate consumer price sensitivity.

AFM used the supply chain forecast to take actions to improve farm productivity and reduce risks, including limiting environmental harm.

Finally, AFM adopted a new organisational structure; implemented a management by objectives framework to set clear expectations for employees; and has hired, trained, and promoted key staff to support business growth. With this new structure, AFM is well set to achieve its growth objectives.

So far, the work has helped to grow AFM’s market share to 80 percent, significantly increased the volume of US avocado imports, and secured predictable income for Mexican avocado growers and distributors.

Our work with PA to develop and codify a new operational model has created incredible focus and discipline. We’re currently tracking more than 200 goals and objectives each fiscal year.”
CEO, Avocados from Mexico

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