Avocado volumes should meet demand for Super Bowl promotions, but lighter supplies out of Chile and almost no product from California should mean higher prices than last year.

Strong avocado demand, markets expected for Super Bowl

“Demand is good — there’s no doubt about that,” said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif. “Everybody’s geared up to make it a good one.”

Promotions from the Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Michoacán and the Hass Avocado Board will help meet that goal.

APEAM launched its Guac Rocks Sweepstakes on Dec. 28 on its Avocados from Mexico Facebook page. The promotion features more than 80 prizes, including airfare for two, and a quiz that measures participants’ personality types based on how they make their guacamole.

The Irvine, Calif.-based Hass Avocado Board, meanwhile, is once again teaming up with NFL legend Joe Montana for Super Bowl promotions. Montana will tout his Tomatillo Touchdown Guacamole recipe in interviews in Dallas in the days leading up to the game.

Super Bowl 2011 won’t likely be the biggest game ever, volumewise, Wedin said. Chile’s crop is significantly lower than last year, and hardly any fruit will be shipping from California, whose season should begin in earnest in April, Wedin said.

That said, Chile’s three biggest weeks of production are slated for January, just in time to take full advantage of the Feb. 6 game, Wedin said. The country has stopped shipping to Europe to focus on meeting U.S. demand.

After a dropoff in weekly shipments around the holidays, Mexican volumes were expected to strengthen in the runup to the Super Bowl, and Chilean volumes should be steady throughout January, said Phil Henry, president of Henry Avocado Corp., Escondido, Calif.

As a result, there should be ample supplies to meet demand and reasonable pricing for Super Bowl promotions, Henry said.

Quality from both Chile and Mexico should be good leading up to the Super Bowl, and both countries are shipping a good mix of sizes, Henry and Wedin said.

That could be especially important this year, when more retailers could look to promote smaller fruit to take the bite out of higher prices, Wedin said.

On Jan. 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $29.25 for two-layer cartons of avocados 48s from Mexico, up from $21.25-22.25 last year at the same time.

Prices won’t likely change much in the runup to the game, Wedin said. Even so, the 2011 Super Bowl could set a record for dollar sales because of the higher prices, he said.

Let’s par-tray!

Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing Co. Inc. expects strong sales of its Tailgater meat, cheese and vegetable platter in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, said Elena Hernandez, Mann’s marketing coordinator.

“It’s gained popularity, and we continue to add distribution and sales,” Hernandez said.

The 2-pound, 4-ounce pack features beef bites, cubed cheddar and fresh-cut broccoli, carrots and celery. The Tailgater label features a football and a green graphic that resembles a football field, Hernandez said.

The item, which is available nationwide, is typically sold on ad in the run-up to the Super Bowl, she said. The company’s other vegetable trays also sell well in anticipation of the Super Bowl.

“We try to keep everything heavily stocked during this time of year,” she said.