Avocado quality at retail requires improvement, with 20–25% of fruit damaged at the point of retail. Flesh bruising is one of the key issues, with most bruising occurring at point of retail when consumers select avocados to purchase. Merchandising and consumer education concepts were therefore developed to assist consumers with fruit selection. Retail training was also developed to help improve handling and practices by staff at point of retail.
A recent project has shown that if quality of retail displays are improved then the fruit selection process is made easier for consumers, reducing squeezing and increasing purchase of avocados. Merchandising and consumer education concepts were developed, and provided to retailers for feedback.
A high impact – low cost display and merchandising system was developed for Hass avocados, comprising:
- Avocados sorted into ripe and unripe categories
- Ripe fruit consistently available
- Green and black coloured foam pads for display
- Header cards identifying stages of ripeness
Trials in retail stores have shown that the above system results in:
- Reduction in squeezing by retail customers: 41% reduction in fruit squeezing per fruit purchased
- Reduction in bruising: 59% reduction in bruise severity
- Increased sales: 30% increase in average number of fruit purchased per customer, 43% reduction in the number of customers who handled avocados without making a purchase
These resources have been developed as part of the Retail Improvements Project (AV15011) which is funded by Hort Innovation, using the Avocado industry levy and contributions from the Australian Government.