(July 15) Leave it to the ranks of commodity boards to come up with the idea to put avocados on pizza and make a big deal out of it.

Seriously. They’re good at that sort of thing.

In many instances, produce shippers trying to tap into the lucrative foodservice market can thank their respective commodity boards for having the reach to set up effective programs.

Because people are accustomed to using certain items only in certain ways, out-of-the-box ideas are mandatory when it comes to devising new menu items.

To make the avocado pizza a reality, the California Avocado Commission got together with Shakey’s, Garden Grove, Calif., to put the item on the menu of 50 Los Angeles-area pizzerias. The promotion runs through September and is supported by billboards and television advertising.

To get blueberries on more menus, focus groups will be a source of new strategies for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, Folsom, Calif.

Even when barking up the wrong tree, commodity boards sometimes find success.

For instance, efforts by the National Onion Association to get Pizza Hut to use caramelized onions failed. But Taco Bell, owned by the same company, decided to feature them on a menu item.

Commodity boards continue to face challenges to their constitutionality. Some may not continue to exist in their current forms. But for now, they’re helping broaden the horizons not only of consumers, but also of the shipping community, which is recognizing new avenues for growth at the foodservice level.

If that includes avocado on pizza, then surely there are other attention-grabbing ideas worth putting to use.