(Jan. 8) Some may be on the small side, but avocados should be available in promotable volumes for the Super Bowl Feb. 4, grower-shippers, importers and industry officials say.

In the two weeks leading to game day, shippers in California, Chile and Mexico plan to sell about 54 million pounds of avocados to satisfy viewers’ guacamole and other avocado-based needs, up from 49 million pounds last year, said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission, Irvine.

Traditionally, the Super Bowl and Cinco de Mayo duke it out for the title of top avocado-consuming day of the year.

“It looks like there will be ample supplies from Chile, California and Mexico,” DeLyser said. “There will be plenty of avocados to promote, and we anticipate excellent quality.”

DeLyser said many retailers would likely offer 10-for-$10 and five-for-$5 promotions this Super Bowl.

The only potential glitch this year could be size, said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif. He reported an abundance of small fruit from Mexico and Chile, which could prevent some retailers from featur-ing popular dual displays, where large and small avocados are displayed side by side.

But as the California harvest gets under way, there have been reports of larger fruit, Wedin said. Regardless of size, he looks for-ward to a good year.

“I don’t think it will be our biggest year, but it will be a good one,” Wedin said. “We’re confident we’ll have supplies at a price the trade can agree with and that growers will be supportive of — one that’s promotable but not too low.”

The mix of Californian, Mexican and Chilean product for this year’s Super Bowl will be considerably different from last year’s mix, said Jose Luis Obregon, managing director of information technology for the Hass Avocado Board, Irvine.

With Chile out of the deal earlier than usual in 2006, and California enjoying a record-sized crop, last year’s Super Bowl was heavy on volume from the Golden State, with Mexico also a big player, Obregon said. This year, Chile will have significantly more, and while California will have enough product for California-branded promotions, volumes won’t begin to peak until March or April, Obregon said.

As a result, he expects Chile and Mexico each to supply about 40% and California 20% of this year’s Super Bowl volumes.

Avocado supplies were very low the first week of January because of severely reduced volumes from Chile, said Avi Crane, presi-dent and chief executive officer of Prime Produce International LLC, Placentia, Calif.

By game day, he said, that will be a distant memory.

“We all understand the importance of the Super Bowl,” Crane said. “I know we’ll fulfill our orders, and I’m sure my fellow mar-keters will make sure they have the supplies they need. Even though it looks scary right now, there will be avocados for the Super Bowl.”

In past years, marketers would dramatize the number of avocados expected to be eaten during the Super Bowl by asking consum-ers to imagine a football field full of guacamole, however many feet deep.

This year, however, the image being promoted is avocados generally, not guacamole, DeLyser said. (For the record, it’s a full field, 20½ feet deep.)