The hype and excitement of this year’s Rugby World Cup is helping to drive sales of avocados in Japan for New Zealand’s most influential avocado export marketing company.

With the All Blacks raising the profile of New Zealand in Japan throughout their World Cup campaign, AVOCO, through its AVANZA brand, is capitalising on this exposure by designing promotional activity that highlights the presence of New Zealand avocados in the market.

The international sporting event continues until November 2 and runs through the main period of AVANZA’s shipments there.

Market manager Ted Thomas says it’s a perfect opportunity to run targeted PR and consumer campaigns that highlight the availability of AVANZA avocados and their special nutritional benefits.

“An example of the communications message is, ‘Be victorious with AVANZA avocado, filled with power from New Zealand’s land’,” says Ted.

A collaboration between AVANZA and one of Japan’s Top 16 rugby teams, Kubota Spears, has also been negotiated that allows AVANZA to promote avocado as a power food for rugby players.

Social media channels are being used over the World Cup period to extend the reach of these messages and encourage consumers to buy avocados when they do their grocery shopping.

AVANZA is shipping more than 100,000 trays to Japan this season, making it the second biggest Asian market for the brand.

Fruit will be handled in-market by Farmind Corporation, AVANZA’s long-standing commercial partner with a strong ‘value add’ reputation as an importer-distributor.

Ted says that Farmind specialises in ‘ripe for retail’ programmes, which, when coupled with retail demonstrations and sampling activity, lead to increased avocado consumption.

An extensive retail programme is also central to marketing activity in Korea, which has become AVANZA’s biggest Asian market for volume. This year, about 165,000 trays will be shipped to Korea between August and January.

AVANZA’s Korean market manager Martin Napper says the biggest opportunity for AVANZA supply is early in the season before the ‘new crop’ Mexican fruit arrives in volume from November.

AVANZA’s market strategy is to target young, single and married women – a demographic that is typically concerned about their health and diet.

“Mothers with babies is also an important sub-group as avocado is a great first food for infants.”

Permanent ripe fruit graphics will support in-store sampling activity that, due to the success of previous campaigns, will centre around avocado smoothies.

“First-time consumers respond well to the creamy taste and texture of New Zealand avocados when combined in a smoothie, which is why we’ve continued to partner with Maeil Beverage. Maeil will run digital promotions combining AVANZA avocados with its almond soy milk and our brand will greatly benefit from their wide-reaching online presence.”

Outside of Korea and Japan, AVANZA is also shipping fruit to Malaysia, Taiwan, India, China, Thailand and Singapore.

AVOCO is expecting to handle a total of 2.25 million export trays this season – up from 1.9 million trays in 2018-19. About 80% of the volume is destined for Australia, which is New Zealand’s highest paying market.

The 2019-20 season is the seventh year that AVOCO has been operating, following a merger of the avocado businesses of Team Avocado and Primor Produce in 2012.