• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Copyright
 Main














Title: Consumer market for Florida avocados
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026932/00001
 Material Information
Title: Consumer market for Florida avocados
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Manley, William T.
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Publication Date: 1960
Copyright Date: 1960
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026932
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aen7769 - LTUF
18302789 - OCLC
000927066 - AlephBibNum

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Historc note
    Main
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE



The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida







Bulletin 625 August 1960





UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS
J. R. BECKENBACH, Director
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA











THE CONSUMER MARKET FOR

FLORIDA AVOCADOS



WILLIAM T. MANLEY and MARSHALL R. GODWIN
















Single copies free to Florida residents upon request to
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA














CONTENTS
Page

SUMMARY .....---..-- .. -----------..........--------....-----.--.....------ ....- 3
INTRODUCTION .....---......--- ..................... ... ........... ... 5
Purpose ..........---.. .... ---- --....-....----...---.---------..........- 6
Methods of Approach .....-- --------------.........-.. .......----. 7
Time of Study ............... .------.... --- .............. .........-----....-.. 9
Description of Sample in Terms of Family Characteristics .........-- 10
FAMILIARITY WITH AND USE PATTERNS FOR AVOCADOS ..----............................ 12
General Use Patterns ...-.... --.......------..-......... --.........-.. .---. ......-......-... 12
Alternative Terms by Which Consumers are Familiar with Avocados 17
Familiarity with Avocado Producing Areas ...........----............................. 18
Circumstances Under Which Homemakers Initially Became
Acquainted with Avocados .............-- .............. ...- ...-..-................. 19
Consumers' Familiarity with Ways in Which Avocados are Served.. 19
THE RETAIL AVAILABILITY OF AVOCADOS .........----......-- .................... 20
General Availability to Consumers ..........-...... ............----- ....-...... 21
Variation in Availability Among Population Groups .......................... 21
SOME PURCHASING HABITS OF CONSUMERS ..........---........---- ..-.-- .---.... 22
FREQUENCY OF USE ................. --- ---- ---.......................- ........... 24
Rate of Use During Year Preceding the Interview ..---......................... 25
Factors Contributing to Infrequent Use .............--....- ......--.......... 25
MANNER IN WHICH AVOCADOS ARE USED ..........---....... ......----........-- .. 28
Recent Use ..-..---...... .... .--------.... .......--...... 28
General Use ..-...........--...-- .....-..----------.....--........ 29
Limited Use Experience and Nonuse .........----...--........----..---... 33
OPINIONS ABOUT AND PREFERENCES FOR AVOCADOS ....----..........--...........-..--. 35
Opinions About Food Value ...........-----------.......-------- ...-... ... 35
Opinions About the Price of Avocados ...................--- ......----- .. --- 36
Effect of Quality upon Purchasing Decisions .....................--.................. 37
Preferences for Avocados Grown in Different Producing Areas........ 42
Preferred Degree of Firmness at Time of Purchase .............................. 42
Preferences with Respect to Shape of Avocados -............................---. 43
EVALUATIONS OF FINDINGS ---... ----........ --.. .....--------..... ..---... -----.... ....- .. 45
Description of the Problem Involved in the Market Promotion
of Avocados ...............-.. ... .....-------- -.... -........--......... 45
Available Funds for Market Promotion ................................................ 47
A Consideration of Alternative Approaches to Market Promotion.... 48
Returns from Resources Expended for Market Promotion .....---... 52
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ---.. ..... ...... .....--....... ................... 54










SUMMARY
This study was undertaken to provide information useful in
implementing a program to expand the total market for Florida
avocados. An understanding of the existing market setting is
considered essential to efforts directed to the end of market ex-
pansion.
Information is presented here on the extent to which avocados
are used and those factors which appear related to consumer use
patterns. The data were obtained by personal interview from a
probability sample of 1,738 families residing in the city of Day-
ton, Ohio. Respondents were asked about their familiarity with,
use patterns of and opinions about avocados. The study was
designed to determine whether significant differences exist among
various population groups with respect to these uses, opinions
and levels of awareness. To this end, the sample population
was divided into segments by family income, race, educational
level, occupation, age and size of family.
Use patterns for avocados vary widely. They had been
used in the home at some time by only one-third of the families
included in the sample survey. Almost one-fifth were totally
unfamiliar with them. The remaining proportion was about
equally divided between those who knew about avocados but had
never eaten one and those who had eaten them but at some
place other than in the home.
The use of avocados in the home was somewhat more charac-
teristic of high income families than of families with relatively
low incomes. Their use was also more prevalent in homes in
which the educational level of the housewife was relatively high
and the occupational status of head of household was of a pro-
fessional or technical nature. Age and composition of the fam-
ily, however, appeared to be unrelated to existing use patterns.
Among those who use avocados, only a small proportion are
frequent users. Only 10 percent had served them at home as
often as two or three times a month during the year preceding
the interview. The rate at which avocados were used did not
vary significantly among the various population groups.
Apparently, avocados are unavailable in a substantial num-
ber of retail food stores. Less than one-half of the respondents
indicated that avocados were usually available in stores where
they shopped.
A dislike for the taste of avocados appears to be the single
most important reason for the infrequent rate at which they are







4 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

used. The manner and occasion for using them also have a bear-
ing upon the low rate at which they are consumed. Consumers
are generally unfamiliar with a wide variety of ways in which
avocados can be served. Also, they are served almost exclu-
sively at mealtime and they are not regarded by consumers as
a food which complements principal items on the meal menu.
The widespread nonfamiliarity with this fruit and the large
proportion of consumers who are nonusers seem to indicate that
the immediate problem of market promotion is largely one of
introduction or encouraging initial use.










THE CONSUMER MARKET FOR

FLORIDA AVOCADOS1

WILLIAM T. MANLEY and MARSHALL R. GODWIN

INTRODUCTION
During the last few years growers and handlers of Florida
avocados have become increasingly concerned with the problem
of marketing their product. Some of the major factors influ-
encing this increased concern are (a) a production trend indica-
tive of an increase in the size of future crops, (b) the apparent
inadequacy of past marketing and merchandising efforts to
cope with the expected increase in production, and (c) the con-
tinued competition from other producing areas, some of which
have historically employed better organized and apparently more
effective marketing methods for avocados.
In an attempt to intensify their marketing efforts, members
of the Florida avocado industry have entered into a marketing
agreement program.2 The purpose of this program is to regulate
the handling of avocados which move to market. These regula-
tions pertain to size, variety, quality and maturity standards.
Regulations have also been employed to control the size, capacity,
weight, dimensions and pack of containers used. To develop
an effective advertising and merchandising program, the Florida
Lime and Avocado Commission has been created. The outcome
of programs designed to increase the total market for avocados
will depend, to a great extent, upon the availability and the
effective use of information relating to the conditions which
constitute the market setting for Florida avocados.
This study is based on the assumption that information per-
taining to consumers' use of and opinions about avocados is
essential to the development of efficient and effective promotional
programs. The selection of the proper approach to implement-
ing a program of promotional activities depends largely upon
the degree to which the product in question has received prior

1 This publication is based upon a more detailed examination of the data
which were presented under the title "Consumers' Use of and Opinions
About Florida Avocados" as a dissertation by William T. Manley in partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at
the University of Florida in June 1958.
2 United States Department of Agriculture, Avocado Marketing Order
No. 69, 1954.







6 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

consumer acceptance. The appeal made to consumers who are
unaware of a product would likely differ from that made to fre-
quent users. Still another approach may be desirable when the
population is aware of a product but uses it infrequently. Such
matters must be determined, therefore, in order to achieve effi-
ciency in the use of resources for promotional activities.
This study provides information concerning the extent to
which avocados are used and those major factors which appear
related to consumer use patterns. Data were obtained from a
consumer survey in which a sample of housewives were asked to
convey their familiarity with, use patterns of and opinions about
avocados. The study is designed to determine whether signifi-
cant differences exist among various segments of the popula-
tion with respect to these uses, opinions and levels of knowledge
concerning avocados. For this reason the sample population is
divided into segments by family income, race, educational level,
occupation, age and size of family.
Promotional activities are utilized by individual industries
in agriculture to maintain or to improve their competitive posi-
tion with respect to the sales of substitutable commodities. Re-
gardless of the intent, however, the expenditures involved are
necessarily included in the marketing or distribution costs. The
efficiency with which the advertising and merchandising pro-
grams for agricultural products are designed and carried out,
therefore, becomes important to producers from a net profit
standpoint.
PURPOSE
The primary purposes of this study are (a) to provide the
Florida avocado industry with information about consumers'
use of and opinions about avocados, and (b) to point out some
implications of the findings with respect to implementing a more
efficient program of market expansion through promotional ac-
tivities.
In addition to the primary study objectives, the information
presented may be useful in facilitating future research designed
to confirm or to modify the findings of this study and to examine
other marketing problems faced by the Florida avocado industry.
Information of a subjective nature, such as the opinions and
preferences of consumers relating to the appearance, the degree
of firmness and the shape of avocados, may help evaluate the
need for research to ascertain the economic significance which
consumers attach to quality differences in avocados.







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 7

There are, perhaps, other segments of agriculture which are
faced with marketing problems similar to those of the avocado
industry. Although the findings of this study have particular
reference to avocados, some of them may be applicable to prob-
lems involved in marketing other agricultural commodities, par-
ticularly those of a specialty nature.
METHODS OF APPROACH
Of major importance in this study was the selection of a
sample of consumers in the midwestern or northeastern part
of the country since these areas contain most of the major mar-
kets for Florida fruit and vegetable crops. Consequently, an
initial phase of the research effort was to find a market area
generally representative of the northern market areas of the
United States. A subsequent phase consisted of selecting a prob-
ability sample of households within the designated market area.
The Population Sampled.-The major criteria considered in
the location of a representative market were the existence of a
variety of industries, the existence of various income groups of
sufficient size for study, and the distribution of the total popula-
tion of the area with respect to race or ancestry. Information
from various market guides was used in locating market areas
with a sufficient number and variety of industries. The United
States Census of Housing was used to compare several northern
cities with respect to the other variables.3
Thirty northeastern and midwestern market areas were con-
sidered for the study. The area finally selected was Dayton,
Ohio. In 1950 the city of Dayton had a population of about
250,000 of which 14 percent was nonwhite. It had widely vary-
ing incomes and was supported culturally by the University of
Dayton and Sinclair College. There were sizable groups of
wage earners in many varied industrial occupations. In 1955,
over 57,000 wage earners were employed in machinery manu-
facture. An additional 10,000 were employed in the manufacture
of transportation equipment.
A nonmanufacturing, but important, source of employment
and income is Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, located in a
suburban area of the city. This installation employs about 31,000
workers.
The Sample Design.-The 1950 Block Census of Housing for
the city of Dayton was the primary source of information
U. S., Bureau of the Census, United States Census of Housing: 1950.







8 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

utilized in selecting a probability sample of households. In the
Block Census of Housing basic descriptive statistics about the
population are given in terms of city blocks and are summarized
by census tracts.
By using the entire list of tracts for the city of Dayton, the
population of interest was stratified by three income areas-
high, medium and low. The requirements for an individual
income stratum were arbitrarily specified so that homemakers
of three distinct family income classifications would be inter-
viewed. The criteria used to identify the individual income
stratum were as follows:

Stratum 14 -Low Income: The value of dwelling
less than $6,200 or contract monthly
rent less than $35.00.

Stratum II -Medium Income: The value of dwell-
ing between $8,500 and $10,500 or
contract m o n t h y rent between
$45.00-$50.00.

Stratum III-High Income: The value of dwell-
ing over $12,500 or contract month-
ly rent over $50.00.

Those census tracts which did not meet the stratum specifi-
cations of the study were eliminated from the group and thus
no longer considered for the sample. The locations of the census
tracts selected for the sample within the city of Dayton are
shown in Figure 1.
The rental and value of dwelling data pertaining to a census
tract are an average of the corresponding figures for all city
blocks within that tract. Therefore, within the selected census
tracts there remained some city blocks which failed to meet the
rental and value of dwelling specifications on which the tract

The rental and value of dwelling figures utilized to identify income
strata were not of a continuous nature. For example, an interval of $10.00
existed between the maximum rental figure for the low income stratum
and the minimum rental figure for the medium income stratum. Intervals
were also established between the minimum and maximum value of dwell-
ing figures. This procedure aided in the identification of three distinct
income groups by minimizing the overlapping effect of individual house-
holds falling into the improper income stratum. In determining the census
tracts which met the stratum specifications established for the study, rent
was used when over 50 percent of the dwellings were rented and value of
dwelling was employed when over 50 percent of the dwellings were owner-
occupied.








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 9

itself was selected. These blocks were also eliminated from the
population sampled.










4-3--~r, ~




3-1 0-7
6-4 6-3 10-7
-2. 6 1-1 -3 10- 0- 11-4!
7-3
S 10-1 '025


4 : 122:::: i







SLow Income Area
Medium Income Area
High Income Area




Fig. 1.-Map of the City of Dayton, Ohio, in terms of census tracts,
with tracts selected for sample indicated by 3 income classifications.

As a result of the sampling procedure employed, interviews
were obtained from 1,738 households located in 131 city blocks.
These blocks were distributed among 26 census tracts. In 1950
the city of Dayton contained a total of 72,791 households located
in 2,226 blocks and grouped into 54 census tracts.

TIME OF STUDY
The interviews were conducted from November 24, 1956, to
January 12, 1957. Because of the Christmas holiday season,








10 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

work was interrupted from December 15 through January 2.
The study was timed to coincide with the peak marketing season
for Florida avocados. Normally, a large proportion of the total
crop is marketed during November, December and January.

DESCRIPTION OF SAMPLE IN TERMS OF
FAMILY CHARACTERISTICS
The family income and racial composition information used
in the study was obtained from census data. Data pertaining
to occupation of head of household, family composition and edu-
cational level of homemaker were obtained from direct questions
to the respondent. In all cases, the age of respondent was esti-
mated by the enumerator.
Differences in Family Income.-One of the major components
of the sample design was the stratification of family income.
Homemakers were interviewed in three income areas of the city
classified as low, medium and high. The proportion of inter-
views obtained in each of the three income groups was about the
same. Approximately 38 percent of the interviews were ob-
tained in the low income group as compared to about 31 percent
in both the high and the medium income groups.
Proportions of White and Nonwhite Families.-A majority
of the families living in four census tracts included in the sample
were nonwhite. All four of these tracts were in the low income
stratum of the sample. The sample also included three tracts in
which neither race was predominant. These tracts were classi-
fied as "mixed" and did not enter into the analysis when race
was considered. About 22 percent of the respondents inter-
viewed were located in tracts classified as nonwhite, compared
to 9 percent located in tracts classified as "mixed." More than
two-thirds of the interviews were obtained from 19 tracts classi-
fied as white.
Distribution by Age of Homemaker.-About 38 percent of
the homemakers interviewed were estimated to be between 35
and 50 years of age, while the remaining proportion was approxi-
mately equally distributed between homemakers under 35 and
those over 50 years of age.
Occupational Status of Head of Household.-A sizable pro-
portion of the heads of households were in occupations of an
industrial nature. About 18 percent were classified as machine
operators and kindred workers and 18 percent were classified








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 11

as craftsmen, foremen and kindred workers. Eleven percent
were professional, technical and kindred workers and 9 per-
cent were managers, officials and proprietors. An additional 11
percent of the heads of households were unemployed at the
time of the interview (Table 1).

TABLE 1.-OCCUPATIONAL CLASSIFICATIONS OF HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD.
I I
Occupational Classification Number Percent

Professional, technical and kindred workers ............ 193 11.10
Managers, officials and proprietors ......................... 165 9.49
Clerical and kindred workers ................- -.............. 111 6.39
Sales workers .................................... ........... . 100 5.75
Craftsmen, foremen and kindred workers .............. 319 18.36
Machine operators and kindred workers .................. 306 17.61
Service workers, except private household .............. 94 5.41
Private household workers ....................................... 19 1.09
Laborers, except farm and mine .......---...................... 59 3.40
Retired ......--.... -- --.... --. ---- ---------- 109 6.27
Unemployed ....................................-................ 187 10.76
Not ascertained ........................................ ............ 76 4.37

Total ...................................... .. ........... 1738 100.00

These occupational classifications are based on: U. S., Bureau of the Census, Classified
Index of Occupations and Industries: 1950.

Other Family Characteristics.-Other family characteristics
considered because of their possible effect on knowledge and use
of avocados were the homemaker's level of education and family
composition. About one-fourth of the homemakers had either
attended or completed grammar school. The largest proportion,
which accounted for 61 percent, had either attended or com-
pleted high school. About 13 percent had attended or com-
pleted college.
About four out of 10 families consisted of adults only. The
remaining proportion was almost equally distributed among fam-
ilies with children below seven, children seven to 18, and children
in both age classifications. Each of these groups comprised
about 20 percent of the total sample.







12 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

FAMILIARITY WITH AND USE PATTERNS
FOR AVOCADOS
The extent to which avocados have gained consumer accept-
ance is a highly relevant point in the consideration of alterna-
tive methods for market expansion. Decisions to use educational
appeals in advertising or merchandising will likely depend upon
the proportion of the population found to be totally unfamiliar
with avocados. An educational approach may also be desirable
if it is found that a sufficient proportion of the population are
aware of them but are nonusers. Appeals directed toward
those who use avocados will likely depend upon how this segment
of the population is divided between infrequent and frequent
users.
GENERAL USE PATTERNS
From the information obtained, the sample was divided into
four groups with respect to the homemaker's level of familiarity
with and extent of use of avocados. These categories consisted
of homemakers who were found to have:
1. No knowledge of avocados.
2. Knowledge of avocados but had never eaten one.
3. Eaten avocados but not at home.
4. Served avocados at home at some time in the past.
Only 31 percent had served avocados at home some time prior
to the interview. Of this group, 19 percent had served them
during the past month. About one-half of the homemakers
were familiar with avocados but had never served them at home.
This group was about equally divided between those who had

TABLE 2.-HOMEMAKERS' LEVEL OF FAMILIARITY WITH AND EXTENT OF
USE OF AVOCADOS.*

Level of Familiarity and Extent of Use Number Percent

No knowledge ..............--.... .-.......- -- ... ---....-- 326 18.76
Knowledge but not eaten ...........-..-..----........ ....-- 432 24.85
Eaten but not served at home ..................-- ..-----..... 441 25.37
Served at home some time in past ....--................---- .. 539 31.02

Total ..... -----...... .. ..... .........----- 1738 100.00

All homemakers interviewed.







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 13

never eaten an avocado and those who had eaten them at places
other than in their home. About one-fifth of the respondents
had never heard of them (Table 2).
Differences Among Income Groups.-A positive relationship
was found between the level of family income and the homemak-
er's level of familiarity with avocados. This was also true with
respect to the extent to which they were used. Families with
relatively high incomes were more likely to know about and to
use them than were families with lower incomes. In the low
income group 33 percent indicated a complete lack of knowledge
of this fruit, as compared to only 6 percent in the high income
group. Of those homemakers in the high income group, 40 per-
cent had served them at home on some occasion, compared to 24
percent in the low income group. Less difference was found
among the three income groups with respect to the proportion of
homemakers who knew about avocados but had never eaten one.
Also, relatively minor differences were found among the income
groups for those who had eaten them but had never served
them at home (Table 3).

TABLE 3.-RELATION OF FAMILY INCOME LEVEL TO FAMILIARITY
WITH AND USE OF AVOCADOS.*

Level of Income Classification
Familiarity I | Total
and Extent Low Medium I High Number
of Use INum- Per- Num- Per- Num- Per-
ber cent ber cent ber cent_

No knowledge. 215 32.63 77 14.53 34 6.19 326
Knowledge,
but not eaten
or served .... 146 22.15 168 31.70 118 21.50 432
Eaten, but
not served
at home ........ 138 20.94 127 23.96 176 32.06 441
Served at home 160 24.28 158 29.81 221 40.25 539

Total ..... 659 100.00 530 100.00 549 100.00 1738

All homemakers interviewed.

Use of Avocados by White and Nonwhite Homemakers.-
Little difference was noted in the proportions of white and non-
white homemakers who were familiar with avocados or in the






14 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

extent to which the two groups had used them. They had been
served at home on some occasion previous to the interview by 33
percent of the white homemakers as compared to 31 percent
of the nonwhite homemakers. An almost equal proportion of
white and nonwhite homemakers said they had eaten them at
some time, but had never served them at home. Only a slightly
higher proportion of the nonwhite respondents showed a com-
plete lack of knowledge of avocados than did the white home-
makers interviewed (Table 4). Since all nonwhite families in-
terviewed were in the low income stratum of the sample, it would
appear that nonfamiliarity with and nonuse of this fruit are
more characteristic of low income, white families than of low
income, nonwhite families.

TABLE 4.-FAMILIARITY WITH AND USE OF AVOCADOS BY WHITE AND
NONWHITE HOMEMAKERS.*

Level of Familiarity White Nonwhite Total
and Extent of Use I I Number
SNumber Percent Number Percent I
No knowledge ............ 183 15.26 87 22.72 270
Knowledge, but not
eaten or served ...... 312 26.02 76 19.84 388
Eaten, but not
served at home ..... 311 25.94 100 26.11 411
Served at home ......... 393 32.78 120 31.33 513

Total --................. 1199 100.00 383 100.00 1582

All homemakers interviewed except those unclassified as white or nonwhite.

Use by Homemakers of Different Educational Levels.-Home-
makers with a higher educational background were more familiar
with avocados and were more likely to have used them than were
homemakers of a lower educational level. Of those homemakers
who had attended or completed college, 55 percent said they had
served avocados at home, compared to 20 percent of those home-
makers who had attended or completed grammar school. Also,
38 percent of those homemakers who had attended or completed
grammar school and only 3 percent of those homemakers who
had attended or completed college said they had never heard of
this fruit (Table 5).







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 15

TABLE 5.-FAMILIARITY WITH AND USE OF AVOCADOS BY
EDUCATIONAL LEVEL OF HOMEMAKER. *

Educational Level
Level of Attended Attended
Familiarity No or or Attended Not
and Extent Formal Completed Completed or Ascer-
of Use Education Grammar High Completed tainted
I School School College
I Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent
No knowledge.. 83.33 37.80 14.34 3.10 19.44
Knowledge, but
not eaten
or served .... 22.93 28.11 14.60 19.44
Eaten, but
not served
at home ...... 18.78 27.64 26.99 27.78
Served at home 16.67 20.49 29.91 55.31 33.34

Total ........ 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00

Number
of cases ...... 6 410 1060 226 36
All homemakers interviewed.

Occupational Status and Use of Avocados.-Families in which
the occupation of head of household was of a nontechnical nature
had a limited knowledge of this fruit. They were also less likely
to have purchased them than were families in which the occupa-
tion of head of household was of a professional nature. Roughly
41 percent of the families in which the heads of households were
professional, managerial and sales workers had served avocados
at home on some occasion, as compared to about 23 percent in
which the main occupations were laborers, service workers and
private household workers. Among the professional and man-
agerial occupations, only 9 percent showed a complete lack of
knowledge of avocados, compared to 23 percent of those listing
occupations as service workers and laborers (Table 6).
Homemakers who knew about avocados but had never eaten
them were relatively evenly distributed among the various oc-
cupational classifications. This was also true for those who had
eaten avocados but at some place other than at home.
Effect of Family Composition on Use.-The level of famil-
iarity with avocados and the extent of their use were unrelated
to family composition. With respect to the proportion of














TABLE 6.-FAMILIARITY WITH AND USE OF AVOCADOS BY OCCUPATIONAL STATUS OF HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD.*

I____ Occupation 2.
SProfessional, Service
Level of Familiarity Managerial, Clerical Craftsmen Workers Not
and Extent of Use and Sales Workers and and Unemployed Retired Ascertained
Workers Operatives Laborers________ _____
SPercent Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent Percent

No knowledge .........--..--..- 8.52 13.51 21.12 23.26 31.55 21.10 23.68
Knowledge, but not
eaten or served ............ 19.87 27.93 29.76 25.58 22.99 17.43 23.68
Eaten, but not
served at home .......... 30.79 26.13 22.24 28.49 19.79 30.28 17.11
Served at home .......... 40.82 32.43 26.88 22.67 25.67 31.19 35.53

Total........................ 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 C

Number of cases ............... 458 111 625 172 187 109 76

All households interviewed.







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 17

respondents who had served avocados at home, no variation
existed between those families with adults only and those fam-
ilies with adults and children seven to 18 years of age. In
both these groups 36 percent had served avocados at home some
time prior to the interview. However, only 21 percent of those
families with adults and children under seven and of those fam-
ilies with adults and children of both age classifications had
served avocados at home (Table 7).

TABLE 7.-FAMILIARITY WITH AND USE OF AvOCADOS BY
COMPOSITION OF FAMILY.*

Family Composition
Adults
Level of Adults Adults and
Familiarity Adults and and Children Not
and Extent Only Children Children of Both Ascer-
of Use Below Seven to Age Clas- tainted
Seven Eighteen sifications
SPercent Percent | Percent Percent I Percent
No knowledge .. 15.64 23.51 15.64 23.13 22.37
Knowledge,
not eaten
or served ..... 19.14 29.78 26.71 32.81 17.11
Eaten, not
served at
home .............. 28.77 26.33 21.50 21.25 22.37
Served at home 36.45 20.38 36.15 22.81 38.15

Total ........ 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00

Number of cases 716 319 307 320 76

All homemakers interviewed.

There is no indication that families with adults only are
more likely to know about and use avocados than families with
children. Further investigations were made to determine if
the number of family members might be related to familiarity
with and use of avocados. However, this examination also failed
to reveal any significant relationships.

ALTERNATIVE TERMS BY WHICH CONSUMERS ARE
FAMILIAR WITH AVOCADOS
Among those homemakers familiar with avocados, 85 per-
cent knew them by the term avocado as such and 8 percent identi-






18 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

fled them by one of the terms "avocado pear," "alligator pear"
or "Calavo." Homemakers unfamiliar with any of the foregoing
terms were shown a photograph of a typical avocado. Those
who recognized the photograph without associating it with any
name accounted for 7 percent of the respondents familiar with
this fruit.
Apparently, a substantial number of consumers who are ac-
tually familiar with this fruit would be unable to recognize the
term "avocado" as such when used in various advertising media.
This fact has certain implications for future advertising and
merchandising programs. Extensive promotional activity may
be made more effective by the use of alternative terms and photo-
graphs. Furthermore, unfamiliarity with the term "avocado"
as such is associated with identifiable population groups. Thus,
promotional appeals making use of alternative terms and photo-
graphs will be most effective if they are directed specifically to
these population groups.
Among those homemakers familiar with avocados, 95 per-
cent in the high income group recognized the name as such,
whereas this was true with only 75 percent of the homemakers
in the low income group. A higher proportion of homemakers in
the low income group were familiar only with the terms "avocado
pear," "alligator pear" or "Calavo" than were respondents in
the medium and the high income groups.
Among the nonwhite homemakers, 23 percent were unfamiliar
with the term avocado but recognized one of the terms "avocado
pear," "alligator pear" or "Calavo," compared to only 4 percent
of the white homemakers interviewed. For about an equal pro-
portion of white and nonwhite homemakers, familiarity with
avocados could be established only through the use of a photo-
graph.
FAMILIARITY WITH AVOCADO PRODUCING AREAS
The extent to which homemakers were familiar with the
areas in which avocados are produced was associated with their
level of familiarity with and extent of use of avocados; that is,
homemakers who had served avocados at home were generally
more familiar with producing areas than were those who had
had less use experience with them. Homemakers were more
aware of Florida as an avocado producing area than of California.
Of the total number of homemakers interviewed, 66 percent
mentioned Florida and 39 percent mentioned California as pro-







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 19

during areas. About 31 percent recognized both Florida and
California as states in which they are produced (Table 8).

TABLE 8.-CONSUMERS' FAMILIARITY WITH AVOCADO PRODUCING AREAS.*

Area ** Number Percent t

Florida .-----...................... ----------..........- 936 66.29
California ....-.......--... --- ..............--- ---- ... 552 | 39.09
Florida and California ....................-- .................. 436 30.88
Texas ................................. ...................... 18 1.27
Nonproducing states ......................---.................. .. 11 0.78
Foreign countries .........--....- ..-.. ..............--------- 23 1.63
Not ascertained ......--------............. ...---- ...-- ... 49 3.47
Number of homemakers interviewed ................ 1412

*All homemakers who were familiar with avocados.
** Florida and California are the only states in this country in which avocados are pro-
duced in commercial quantities. However, questions designed to determine consumers'
familiarity with producing areas were constructed so that homemakers were provided an
opportunity to mention other states as producing areas, as well as producing and non-
producing areas in other parts of the world.
t Percentages total more than 100 since some homemakers mentioned more than one
place as an avocado producing area.

CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH HOMEMAKERS INITIALLY
BECAME ACQUAINTED WITH AVOCADOS
A wide variety of answers was obtained when homemakers
were asked to name the circumstances under which they initially
became acquainted with avocados. Mass communication media
such as radio and newspapers have been of little importance in
introducing consumers to this fruit. Only 4 percent mentioned
printed material and 1 percent mentioned radio and television
as ways in which they found out about them. About 15 percent
said they found out about avocados while shopping and the same
proportion said while living or visiting in producing areas or
adjacent areas. About 8 percent found out about them at place
of employment (Table 9).

CONSUMERS' FAMILIARITY WITH WAYS IN WHICH
AVOCADOS ARE SERVED
One-fourth of the total number of homemakers interviewed
said they were aware of avocados as a food item but had never
eaten them. In an effort to determine why avocados are not
purchased by this group, homemakers were asked whether they
were familiar with the ways in which avocados are served. An







20 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

affirmative response was obtained in only one-third of the cases.
When those respondents who said they knew how avocados are
served were asked to name the various ways, over 75 percent
said as a salad without further elaboration. Only 4 percent
named a specific type of salad. This suggests that a substantial
number of consumers may be nonusers of avocados because of a
general lack of familiarity with them, especially with respect
to the manner in which they are served.

TABLE 9.-CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH HOMEMAKERS INITIALLY
BECAME ACQUAINTED WITH AVOCADOS.*

Circumstances Number Percent

While living or visiting in producing
areas or adjacent areas ...................................... 210 14.87
In store while shopping ..... -.......................--- ....... 212 15.01
Heard friends or relatives mention them .......... 166 11.76
Eaten away from home ....................................... 155 10.98
At place of employment ........................-......-....... 108 7.65
Received as gift ..-----........... ........ ..... --....... 67 4.75
Printed material, recipe books, magazines, etc. 61 4.32
Became acquainted as a child at home .............. 45 3.19
At school -...-------... ---................. ..----. 28 1.98
Radio, television ... -------........-- -- -..--......- -...... 16 1.13

Other .-...........-.. --...... .. .. ------- -............ --11 0.78
Unable to recall ...--------------...........-....... ... -322 22.80
Not ascertained ......----..............- ...... ........ .... 11 0.78

Total ....... -...................... .................... 1412 100.00

All homemakers who were familiar with avocados.

RETAIL AVAILABILITY OF AVOCADOS

The success of a market promotional program for avocados
will depend, to some extent, upon their widespread availability
to consumers. In order for avocados to be extensively access-
ible, they must be available in small retail stores as well as large
ones, and they must be available to families of all income and
racial groups.
It has been established that this fruit is used by a relatively
small proportion of the population. The widespread nonuse of







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 21

avocados complicates the problem of attaining a distribution
among retail outlets. The fact that they are a specialty product
and perishable may make it unprofitable for small retail stores
to handle them. This is especially true if it is necessary to pur-
chase the fruit in wholesale packs that are unreasonably large
in relation to normal sales volume.
The marketing problems faced by the industry rest, therefore,
not only with the consumer but also with those agencies engaged
in the distribution and the sale of avocados. For reasons already
indicated, industry marketing practices must be designed to
cope with the existence of retail outlets of various size groups.
Furthermore, a general lack of familiarity with avocados is prob-
ably characteristic of distributors and retailers as well as con-
sumers. Thus, promotional activity among the various distribu-
tive agencies might be considered an integral part of an over-all
promotional program.
Although this study deals primarily with the problem of
avocado marketing from the standpoint of the consumer, it pro-
vides some indication about the extent of the difficulty involved
in obtaining a distribution of this fruit among retail outlets.
An effort was made to relate their availability on the market to
types and locations of retail establishments in relation to various
income and racial groups.

GENERAL AVAILABILITY TO CONSUMERS
All homemakers who were familiar with avocados, regardless
of the extent to which they had used them, were asked to indi-
cate the availability of avocados in the food stores where they
usually shopped. The answers to this inquiry indicate that avo-
cados either seldom or never appear in many retail food stores.
About 27 percent of the respondents commented that avocados
were seldom available at the stores where they usually bought
groceries and 8 percent said they were never available. Only 46
percent stated that avocados were usually available at the stores
where they shopped. An additional 19 percent were unaware of
their availability.

VARIATION IN AVAILABILITY AMONG POPULATION GROUPS
Differences Related to Family Income.-Avocados are more
likely to be available in food stores that serve consumers with
relatively high incomes than in stores that serve consumers with







22 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

lower incomes. In the high income areas of the city, 55 percent
of the respondents stated that avocados were usually available
in stores where they shopped. Only 31 percent in the low in-
come areas indicated that avocados were usually available in
stores. About 13 percent of the respondents in the low income
group said avocados were never available, as compared to only
4 percent in the high income group. Almost no variation existed
among the three income groups with respect to the proportions
of respondents who were unaware of the accessibility of avo-
cados on the market.
Differences Related to White and Nonwhite Homemakers.-
Apparently, avocados are less available to nonwhite families than
they are to white families. More than one-half of the nonwhite
homemakers stated avocados were either seldom or never avail-
able at the stores where they bought groceries as compared to
less than one-third of the white respondents. Only one-third of
the nonwhite homemakers said avocados were usually available,
compared to about one-half of the white homemakers.
As a result of considering both family income and race of
homemaker as related to the responses given concerning the avail-
ability of avocados on the market, it can be concluded that this
fruit is least accessible to low income families and particularly
to low income, nonwhite families.

SOME PURCHASING HABITS OF CONSUMERS
Those homemakers who had bought avocados during the
month prior to the interview were questioned about the num-
ber bought per purchase, prices paid and type of establishment
from which they were purchased.
The replies showed that almost eight out of 10 had purchased
either one or two at the last purchase. About one-half had
bought one, 30 percent purchased two and 18 percent bought
three or more at a time (Table 10). Included in the 18 percent
who purchased three or more were three respondents who said
they had purchased four, and four who said they had purchased
six at one time. A very important finding, however, was that
nearly 50 percent of the homemakers who were recent users had
bought two or more avocados at their last purchase. The fact
that this rather large proportion of the consumers had made
multiple unit purchases suggests that retailers may increase
their sales of avocados through multiple unit pricing.








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 23

TABLE 10.-NUMBER OF AVOCADOS BOUGHT AT LAST PURCHASE.*

Number Purchased Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent

One .......................... 50 48.54 48.54
Two ......................... 31 30.10 78.64
Three or more ........ 19 18.45 97.09
Not ascertained .... 3 2.91 100.00

Total ............. 103 100.00
Homemakers who had purchased avocados during month preceding the interview.

A wide variation was found in the price consumers paid for
avocados. About six out of 10 had paid 29 cents or less for each
avocado at the last purchase. However, prices ranged from as
little as 10 cents to as much as 59 cents each. The most fre-
quently mentioned price was 29 cents. About 21 percent paid
25 to 28 cents and 19 percent paid over 30 cents per fruit (Table
11). The latter group was composed almost entirely of those
who paid either 30 cents or 39 cents.

TABLE 11.-AMOUNT PAID FOR LAST PURCHASE OF AVOCADOS.*

Price Per Avocado Number Percent Cumulative Percent

Below 25 cents ..... 8 7.77 7.77
25 to 28 cents ...... 22 21.36 29.13
29 cents ................. 30 29.12 58.25
30 cents or more.... 20 19.42 77.67
Do not know ........ 20 19.42 97.09
Not ascertained ... 3 2.91 100.00

Total--.........- 103 100.00

Homemakers who had purchased avocados during month preceding the interview.

A majority of the respondents had made their last purchase
at a chain store supermarket. An additional 21 percent men-
tioned an independent market and 18 percent a specialty store
(Table 12). It would appear that the availability of avocados
varies a great deal among the types of retail stores. However,








24 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

when the prevalence of chain store supermarkets in the retail
food industry is considered, then the likelihood of avocados being
less available in independent markets or specialty stores is not
as great as one might initially suspect.

TABLE 12.-TYPE OF STORE FROM WHICH LAST PURCHASE OF
AVOCADOS WAS MADE.*

Type of Store Number Percent

Chain store supermarket ...................-......--- .----- 58 56.31
Independent market ....----.................... ......... 22 21.36
Specialty store ............. ..... ..... .... ---------- .... 19 18.45
Other .....---................................ .............. 1 0.97
Not ascertained ....................-..-....................... 3 2.91

Total .................. ................ .................... 103 100.00

*Homemakers who had purchased avocados during month preceding the interview.

There was a tendency for avocados purchased at an independ-
ent market or specialty store to be priced slightly higher than
those bought at chain stores. Of those who purchased them at
a specialty store, 47 percent paid 30 cents or more each as com-
pared to 15 percent of those who purchased them at a chain
store supermarket (Table 13). It should be borne in mind, how-
ever, that the higher prices paid at independent markets and
specialty stores could be the result of a differential in the quality
or the size of the fruit handled by the various type stores. The
effect of these factors on prices paid cannot be measured from
the information obtained.

FREQUENCY OF USE

The potential that exists for an expanded market for avo-
cados has been described thus far by comparing the proportion
of families who are users with the proportion who are nonusers.
This section provides information about the market potential
which exists for that portion of the population which presently
knows about and uses avocados. Approximately one-third of
the families included in the sample survey had purchased them
for home consumption at some time in the past. These home-








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 25

makers were questioned regarding the rate at which they had
served them at home during the year preceding the interview.
This information was used in an effort to determine whether
those who presently use avocados are mostly frequent or mostly
infrequent users.

TABLE 13.-RANGE OF PRICES PAID FOR AVOCADOS BY STORE TYPES.*

Store Type _
Total
Range of Prices Chain Store Independent Specialty Num-
Paid Supermarket Market Store ber
Num- I Per- INum- Per- Num- Per-
ber | cent ber cent ber cent_
Below 25 cents .... 6 13.04 1 6.67 -- 7
25 to 28 cents ........ 12 26.09 4 26.67 6 35.29 22
29 cents .......... ...... 21 45.65 5 33.33 3 17.65 29
30 cents or more .... 7 15.22 5 33.33 8 47.06 20

Total ...... ....-....- 46 100.00 15 100.00 17 100.00 78

Information from homemakers who had purchased avocados during month preceding
the interview.

RATE OF USE DURING YEAR PRECEDING THE INTERVIEW
Among the families represented by this sample, avocados
were an infrequently used product. Among the users, three out of
10 did not remember serving them in the past year. Only 5
percent had served them as often as once a week and another
5 percent as often as two or three times a month during the
past year. Sixteen percent had served them only once or twice
during this period of time (Table 14).
It has been established that familiarity with and use of avo-
cados vary among segments of the population. Among those
who had purchased avocados for home consumption, however,
it was generally found that little variation existed among popu-
lation groups with respect to the rate at which they had pur-
chased them during the past year.

FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO INFREQUENT USE
The frequent use of avocados in the diet is restricted to com-
paratively few families. Among those homemakers who had
on some occasion served avocados to their families or in their
homes, over three-fourths had not served them as frequently








26 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

as once a month during the year preceding the interview. With
infrequent users the problem of market expansion is not one of
introduction, but is one of finding ways to increase consumption
rates. In order to obtain information which might indicate how
this could be accomplished, all homemakers who had served avo-
cados at home, but who had not served them as frequently as
once a month, were questioned to ascertain the major reasons
why they did not serve them more often.

TABLE 14.-RATE AT WHICH AVOCADOS WERE USED DURING THE YEAR
PRECEDING THE INTERVIEW.*

Rate of Use Number Percent Cumulative Percent

Once a week or more ....... 27 5.01 5.01
2 to 3 times a month .......... 25 4.64 9.65
Once a month ....................... 68 12.62 22.27
8 to 11 times a year ............ 5 0.93 23.20
5 to 7 times a year ............... 31 5.75 28.95
3 to 4 times a year .--............ 57 10.57 39.52
1 to 2 times a year .....---....... 88 16.33 55.85
Served but did not know
how often .......................... 69 12.80 68.65
Not served in past year ...... 167 30.98 99.63
Not ascertained .......-....-....... 2 0.37 100.00

Total ..................-- ........ --539 100.00

Homemakers who had served avocados at home some time prior to the interview.

When homemakers were asked why they did not use them
more frequently, about one-half gave reasons pertaining to taste
considerations. Infrequent use was the consequence of the house-
wife's personal dislike for their taste in a comparatively large
number of cases. Dislike of the taste on the part of the house-
wife or her husband accounted for almost one-fourth of the total
reasons given for not serving them more often. Another 15
percent said that "the family" did not like the taste of avocados.
The taste reactions of children were rather unimportant as a
reason for not serving them frequently (Table 15).








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 27




TABLE 15.-REASONS GIVEN BY HOMEMAKERS FOR THE INFREQUENT
USE OF AVOCADOS.*

Reasons for Infrequent Use Number Percent


Taste considerations .....................-----.. ...... 190 45.55

Respondent does not like taste ...........--.... 68 16.30
Family does not like taste .......................-- 65 15.58
Husband does not like taste ........................ 34 8.15
Children do not like taste ........................... 10 2.40
Likes other fruits better .............------........... 10 2.40
Other ............-....................- -....-................ 3 0.72

Pertaining to availability ............................... 48 11.51

Difficulty in purchasing avocados .............. 39 9.35
Avocados are not of preferred quality ...... 9 2.16
Cost considerations ...............................---- ......--- 37 8.87

Too high in price ------.........-.................. 37 8.87

Nutritional considerations ..-.. .-------....--------. 32 7.67

Too rich ............. ........................ ......... ....... 15 3.59
Dietary considerations .....----......................... 10 2.40
Too high in food value .................................... 4 0.96
Other ..........-.................................... .. 03 0.72

Pertaining to knowledge of avocados ............ 31 7.44

Serves only on special occasions ............--. 16 3.84
Not familiar with how to serve avocados. 6 1.44
Not familiar with how to buy avocados..... 3 0.72
Other .-----...--... ----- ------.. ...- 6 1.44

Miscellaneous considerations ............................ 47 11.28

Does not prepare many meals at home ...... 23 5.52
Respondent does not do shopping ........._--. 12 2.88
Never thinks of them .---................................ 12 2.88

Do not know --...... --...... ....---..--........ ......... 10 2.40

Not ascertained .........----..........-------- ........ 22 5.28


Total .------- ---...... .... .......... ............ 417 100.00

Homemakers who had served avocados at home at some time but less frequently than
once a month during year preceding the interview.







28 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

MANNER IN WHICH AVOCADOS ARE USED
Among those who know about and use avocados, a large pro-
portion purchases them only occasionally. For most of these
families they apparently constitute an extremely small portion
of the total diet. In this study an effort was made to isolate the
major reasons for the infrequent use of this fruit. This in-
volved obtaining information about the manner of use, opinions
about and preferences for avocados. A knowledge of the reasons
for infrequent use defines more specifically the obstacles to be
overcome in an effort to increase the rate at which they are used.
Therefore, more objective decisions can be made relating to the
specific areas which may need to be emphasized in future promo-
tional appeals.
The manner in which avocados were most generally used
by homemakers is examined in terms of (a) experiences with
avocados purchased during a specified time period, that is, during
the month prior to the interview and (b) experiences with avo-
cados purchased some time in the past without reference to a
particular period of time.

RECENT USE
Manner of Serving Avocados.-Questions pertaining express-
ly to the last purchase were asked only of those who had served
them in their home within a month prior to the interview.
Among this group, about seven out of 10 served their last pur-
chase of avocados as a salad with about 31 percent specifying
fruit salad, 7 percent vegetable salad and 35 percent salad with-
out naming a particular kind. The next most frequently men-
tioned methods of serving avocados were on lettuce with dressing
and plain with dressing, which accounted for only 6 percent each.
Meals at Which Avocados Were Served.-Avocados are used
almost exclusively in connection with lunch or dinner meals.
The last purchase of avocados was served at the dinner meal
by 81 percent of the homemakers interviewed. An additional
14 percent indicated that their last purchase was served at lunch
and about 3 percent at times other than at meals.
Method of Storage.-Two out of three homemakers stored
their last purchase of avocados in the refrigerator. Some who
stored avocados in this manner wrapped them beforehand. Al-
most one-fourth kept their last purchase of avocados at room
temperature until they were eaten (Table 16).








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 29

TABLE 16.-MANNER IN WHICH LAST PURCHASE OF AVOCADOS
WAS STORED.*

Manner Stored Number Percent

In refrigerator (not wrapped) .......................-... 59 57.28
In refrigerator (wrapped) ............................. ..... 9 8.74
Not refrigerated ...... .............. .................. 24 23.30
Other methods of storage ......-.........-................... 2 1.94
Did not store but used immediately .................. 7 6.80
N ot ascertained ....... .................................... 2 1.94

Total ................................... 103 100.00
Homemakers who had purchased avocados during month preceding the interview.

Apparently consumers generally purchase avocados only one
to two days before they intend to serve them. Only 17 percent
stated they stored their last purchase more than four days (Table
17). Since consumers apparently use avocados soon after they
are purchased, it becomes necessary to consider the maturity
stage of avocados both at time of harvest and at time of ship-
ment to market.
TABLE 17.-NUMBER OF DAYS LAST PURCHASE OF AVOCADOS WAS STORED.*

Number of Days Number Percent

One ....--.... --....... ... -.. .- ..... -- ...--.. .. 31 30.10
Two .... ------------..------ ---............-..... 22 21.36
Three ......--......---- ........ ........-.... ....-- -.... 11 10.68
Four or more .----........ ----...... .............. 18 17.47
Not ascertained -... ............... .... -21 20.39

Total -- ........... ............. .... 103 100.00
Homemakers who had purchased avocados during month preceding the interview.

GENERAL USE
The rather infrequent use of avocados by a substantial share
of the homemakers who had had an occasion to serve the product
in the home means that the use pattern in many households can
be examined only in terms of events that have occurred over a
period of years. Consequently, all homemakers were asked a







30 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

series of questions regarding their general use of avocados. No
doubt, these responses contain a mixture of unknown proportions
of fact and opinion. They are important, nevertheless, since they
reflect the frame of reference within which homemakers look
upon avocados as a food, even though they are only occasional
users. This information is relevant, therefore, to the develop-
ment of techniques for inducing consumers to increase their
consumption rate.
Most Frequent Manner of Use.-Responses to questions per-
taining to the usual methods of serving avocados differed little
from responses to questions pertaining to the use of the last pur-
chase. Apparently, consumers are generally unfamiliar with a
wide variety of uses or they do not desire to use them in a va-
riety of ways.
About three-fourths of the respondents indicated they usually
served avocados as a salad. Twenty-one percent specified fruit
salad and 6 percent vegetable salad, whereas 41 percent men-
tioned a salad without specifying a particular kind. An addi-
tional 16 percent indicated they usually served them plain or
plain with some sort of dressing (Table 18).
Circumstances Under Which Avocados Are Generally Served.
-Practically all homemakers indicated they generally served
avocados at mealtime with the dinner meal being by far the
most important one at which they were used. The purchasing
of avocados exclusively for serving at times other than at meals
was found in only 5 percent of the cases (Table 19).
Less than 18 percent indicated they sometimes had occasion
to serve avocados other than at mealtime. The most frequently
mentioned occasion was between-meal snacks. A lesser number
stated they sometimes served avocados at parties and club meet-
ings (Table 20). This indicates that avocados are not prom-
inently used in the preparation of foods for various entertain-
ment functions.
Those who had served avocados on special occasions usually
served them at parties or on holidays. About 49 percent of those
who served them on such occasions mentioned parties and 44
percent mentioned holidays (Table 21).
Use of Avocados as a Complementary Food.-It appears that
the use of avocados is not associated with any particular types
of foods. Only 12 percent of the respondents who had used
avocados indicated a likelihood of having a specific main dish
at meals when avocados are served. This would seem to indicate








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 31

TABLE 18.-MANNER IN WHICH AVOCADOS ARE MOST GENERALLY SERVED.*

Manner Served Number Percent


Salad (unspecified) ............-..... ...... ...... 220 40.82

Fruit salad ..-....--..... ........-......... 112 20.78

Vegetable salad ..........- ...-.....-.....--- ..- 33 6.12

Fruit and vegetable salads --....--..-------...--. 19 3.53

On lettuce with dressing ......----....-- ........... -----12 2.23

Other salads ................. -----------------... 8 1.48

Plain (unspecified) .....................-------------- 35 6.49

Plain with dressing .....-........-......-................. 26 4.82

Plain with salt and lemon .-.....---....--..-.....--.. 7 1.30

Plain with salt .........-------........... ......... 8 1.48

Plain (other) ......-- ........------------------. 10 1.86

Spread ............................----------------- 16 2.97

Other ---..------------------...........24 4.45

Do not know ........-.....--...... ....-- --.. ---.. ----6 1.11

Not ascertained --- ..... ...---... .. ..--........ 3 0.56

Total --....----.....--.. ---- ..--.-- -----..- 539 100.00

Homemakers who had served avocados at home some time prior to the interview.


TABLE 19.-MEALS AT WHICH AVOCADOS ARE MOST GENERALLY SERVED.*

Meal Number Percent


Breakfast ....--.....-.. ...--------- ------ ----. 2 0.37

Lunch ...-----........... ----------......... 21 3.90

Dinner .........----------..----- --.................. 375 69.57

Lunch and dinner .............-...... ...--.--- .--- ..... 83 15.40

Do not serve at mealtime ...----------........................ 26 4.82

Not ascertained .........-....... .. ...... ....-......... 32 5.94

Total .....------.............. ----- -------... 539 100.00

Homemakers who had served avocados at home some time prior to the interview.








32 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

that avocados do not complement principal foods in the meal
menu.

TABLE 20.-OCCASIONS OTHER THAN MEALTIME WHEN
AVOCADOS ARE SERVED.*

Occasion Number Percent

Between-meal snacks ...--...............-. ....-...-.. 68 12.62
Evening snacks ...........-..........--- ....-- --- .....-. 8 1.48
Parties .................. -- ------... -.....--..--.....- 18 3.34
Club meetings ................................-......- -.... 2 0.37
Do not serve at other times .-...........-....--- ..--...... 413 76.62
Not ascertained ................. ...........- ..... ........... 330 5.57


Total ....--...---..- --- -------................. 539 100.00

Homemakers who had served avocados at home some time prior to the interview.

Of those who said they might serve a specific main dish with
avocados, over 50 percent mentioned some variation of red meat.
These responses pertained largely to some form of beef. The
next most frequently mentioned foods served with avocados were
fowl which accounted for 27 percent and seafoods which ac-
counted for 11 percent.

TABLE 21.-SPECIAL OCCASIONS ON WHICH AVOCADOS ARE
MORE LIKELY TO BE SERVED.*

Occasion Number Percent

Holidays .----. -- --.......-..-.--......-- ..--..... 75 44.38
Parties .........--..------..- ---.-------..-... 83 49.11
Club meetings .---.....----..---.--..--........--.... 4 2.37
Picnics ...- ........... ... -- -. -- --.......... ........ 1 0.59
Family visits .........--.--....-- ..-...--..--...-- .. 2 1.18
Not ascertained .....--...--... -- ..-......- ...-- ....- 4 2.37


Total -....--.....--...-- ---... ........................ 169 100.00

Only those homemakers who indicated a likelihood of serving avocados on special
occasions.








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 33

LIMITED USE EXPERIENCE AND NONUSE
Use Other Than in the Home.-About one-fourth of the home-
makers interviewed in the survey indicated they had eaten avo-
cados but had never served them at home. These respondents
were questioned specifically to ascertain the reasons for this
general use pattern. Most of these commented they had eaten
avocados in the homes of friends or relatives, or at places of
employment. Some had eaten them at various types of public
eating establishments.
By far the largest number indicated the avocados they last
ate were served as a salad. Over one-half mentioned some sort
of salad and 20 percent said they were served plain.
It has been shown that a dislike for the taste of avocados is
one of the major reasons for their infrequent use and also for
the complete lack of use in the home. Among those who had
eaten avocados but not at home, 55 percent expressed a dislike
for their taste and almost 80 percent commented that other
members of the family disliked their taste.
Aside from taste considerations, however, there were other
important reasons for nonuse in the home. This was shown by
questioning further those homemakers who replied that either
they or some member of their family liked the taste of avo-
cados. Of this group, about one out of three indicated they did
not purchase them because some other family member disliked
their taste. In comparison to taste considerations, the cost and
the lack of availability of this fruit were of less importance.
Of more significance than cost considerations was the general
unfamiliarity with avocados as a food. It simply never occurred
to the homemaker to purchase them. Also, about one out of 10
homemakers did not serve them at home as a result of a lack
of knowledge concerning how to buy them or how to prepare
them for serving (Table 22).
Reasons for Nonuse.-About one out of four homemakers
interviewed indicated an awareness of avocados but had never
eaten one. An effort was made to ascertain some of the factors
influencing the nonuse of avocados, that is, factors other than
a complete lack of knowledge. Reasons given by these respond-
ents for not using avocados varied considerably.
The nonuse of avocados was significantly related to their
appearance. About 22 percent had not purchased them because
their appearance led the homemaker to believe she or some
family member would not like their taste. About 18 percent








34 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

TABLE 22.-REASONS FOR NOT SERVING AVOCADOS AT HOME.*

Reasons Number Percent


Respondent or family does not like taste ........ 57 29.53

Lack of awareness .......................-...........- ......--- 33 17.10

Lack of knowledge concerning avocados .......... 21 10.88

Cost considerations ...............-- ......----...-- .... 17 8.81

Lack of availability ................... -......-............ --12 6.22

Other ............... ... .....- ... .......- ....------..... 12 6.22

Do not know ..-.....-....-..........--- ..... ...... .... ... ..- 14 7.25

Not ascertained ..................................... .. 27 13.99

Total ...... .. ...... ...........------- ........ ------193 100.00

Only those homemakers who baid they or some family member liked the taste of
avocados.


TABLE 23.-REASONS FOR THE NONUSE OF AVOCADOS.*

Reasons for Nonuse Number Percent


Appearance led respondent to believe she
or family would not like taste ...................--.. 93 21.53

Lack of knowledge concerning avocados ........ 76 17.59

No curiosity concerning avocados ................... 66 15.28

Never had an opportunity to try avocados ..... 42 9.72

Does not like to try new foods .........................-. 31 7.18

Possibility never occurred to respondent ......... 24 5.56

Cost considerations .............................-.... ....-.... 15 3.47

Inability to buy avocados
where respondent shops ......---- .......................... 9 2.08

Other ..........- ...- ....---- ............. ... ................. 21 4.86

Does not know why .................... ........----- ....... 39 9.03

Not ascertained ........-...- ....- ..- ... .......- ..... 16 3.70

Total ...............- .............-.................-..... 432 100.00

Pertains to those families in which the homemaker was aware of avocados but had
never eaten one.








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 35

gave reasons pertaining to a lack of knowledge about this fruit,
such as not knowing how to buy them or how to prepare them
for serving. An additional 7 percent indicated they did not
purchase them because they did not like to try new foods. About
15 percent of the homemakers merely indicated they had no
interest in serving avocados and 6 percent commented the possi-
bility never occurred to them (Table 23).
Cost considerations were relatively unimportant as reasons
for nonuse. That these homemakers would be generally un-
familiar with their cost is reasonable since they were nonusers.

OPINIONS ABOUT AND PREFERENCES FOR AVOCADOS
In a previous section the usual manner and occasion for serv-
ing avocados were examined as possible reasons for the low
rate at which they are used. To examine the reasons for infre-
quent use more completely, information concerning homemakers'
opinions about and preferences for avocados was obtained. Al-
though subjective in nature, the opinions and preferences of
homemakers indicate the general frame of reference within
which consumers regard avocados as a food. From this informa-
tion some of the important barriers to market promotion can be
determined.
OPINIONS ABOUT FOOD VALUE
All homemakers who were familiar with avocados (1,411
out of the 1,738 surveyed) were asked whether they thought
avocados were high, average or low in food value. This group
included the nonusers as well as those who had used them at
some time in the past. The number of homemakers having an
opinion about their food value was only slightly larger than the
number not expressing an opinion. Among those who offered
an opinion, more than two-thirds thought they were high in food
value and most of the remaining one-third thought they were
average in food value. A very small number thought they were
low in food value (Table 24).
Most of those homemakers who held no opinion with respect
to food value were either nonusers or extremely infrequent users
of this fruit. Among those who had never eaten an avocado,
72 percent expressed no opinion regarding their food value. In
comparison, only 24 percent of those who had served avocados
at home held no opinion. In each use category a majority of
those homemakers who had an opinion thought avocados were
relatively high in food value.








36 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

TABLE 24.-HOMEMAKERS' OPINIONS ABOUT THE FOOD VALUE OF AVOCADOS.*

Opinion Number Percent

High ..... .............. ........... ... .............. 523 37.06
Average ............ ..-- ....... .. .......... ..... 202 14.32
Low ....... ----... --.--. --------- --... ..... ... I 20 1.42
No opinion .-...-..--... --... .... --.. ---------- ... ... 663 46.99
Not ascertained --................... .......--- ... ..-.. -3 0.21

Total ...............--. -..... ....-..-- --...-- 1411 100.00

Those homemakers who were familiar with avocados.

OPINIONS ABOUT THE PRICE OF AVOCADOS

In addition to attitudes regarding food value, homemakers
who were familiar with avocados were asked to state an opinion
about their price. They were asked whether they thought the
price was high, low or about right in relation to the price paid
for other foods. The number offering an opinion was about
equal to the number who were not familiar enough with their
price to offer an opinion.
Among those who held an opinion, slightly more than one-
half thought they were high in price, whereas slightly less than
one-half thought the price was about right. About 1 percent
thought they were low in price (Table 25).

TABLE 25.-HOMEMAKERS' OPINIONS ABOUT THE PRICE OF AVOCADOS.*

Opinion Number Percent

High .........-..... -- -- -- ---....-...----....----.. -365 25.90
Low ..--......--...- .. -.... .....--.. ...--- ----..--- 7 0.50
About right --..--...------...-------- ...------.. 305 21.65
No opinion ....-------- --.-- ---...-- ...--. ... ---724 51.38
Not ascertained .--..-- ...--... -- ..-- ..-- ---...------- 8 0.57

Total ..............--... --...-- ...-- ................ 1409 100.00

"*Those homemakers familiar with avocados.







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 37

Most of the respondents not having an opinion about price
were those who had had very limited use experience with this
fruit. Among those who said they knew about avocados but had
never eaten one, nearly eight out of 10 held no opinion regarding
their price. This was also true for about 60 percent of those
who had eaten an avocado but had never served this fruit in
the home.
Among the users, an equal proportion thought that the price
of avocados was about right and that the price was high. Among
the nonusers, however, homemakers were more likely to think
of them as being high in price than about right in price.
Reasons for Opinions About Price of Avocados.-An effort
was made to establish the reasons for the opinion that avocados
are high in price. The responses to this inquiry varied consid-
erably. Approximately 29 percent thought they were high in
price because the amount of food obtainable was less in relation
to other foods of comparable price. Some of these were possibly
referring to the food obtainable in a volume sense and others
probably had reference to nutritional value in relation to other
foods of comparable price. More directly, quantity was important
to an additional 16 percent, since they thought the size of avo-
cados was small in relation to their price. Nineteen percent
thought they were high in price because of their scarcity on the
market. Other reasons given were transportation cost and the
large amount of waste involved in preparing avocados for serv-
ing (Table 26).

EFFECT OF QUALITY UPON PURCHASING DECISIONS
Most of those who use avocados apparently regard them as
a specialty product and as a food item to be served only occasion-
ally. Therefore, the quality of avocados on the market may
have special significance with respect to the rate at which they
are purchased. Since they are not a staple food, consumers would
likely be more willing to forego purchasing them if the available
supply is of inferior quality. On the other hand, avocados of
good quality may suggest their use on occasions when the food
shopper would not have, otherwise, thought of purchasing them.
About one-half of the homemakers indicated they had pur-
chased avocados when they had not thought about buying them
before they went to the food store. The impulse buying of avo-
cados appears closely related to their external appearance. The
single most important reason given for impulsive or unantici-







38 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

TABLE 26.-REASONS GIVEN BY HOMEMAKERS FOR THE OPINION THAT
AVOCADOS ARE HIGH IN PRICE.*

Reasons Number Percent

In relation to amount of food
one gets in other foods ...................................... 70 29.04
Small for price ....-- --...--- --.......--........-- ......... 39 16.18
Scarcity ............................ .--..--............... 45 18.67
Transportation cost .......-----......... ...............-- .... 29 12.03
Large amount of waste ..--....-----------.- 16 6.64
Few users ............................... ..... -8 3.32
Because of extra food value .-.. --........ .........--- .. 4 1.66
Perishable ....................-----............--- ...-. 3 1.25
Seasonal -................---------. ... ............... 3 1.25
Poor quality of avocados available .................. 3 1.25
Do not know ..........................-- -...---- .. ..... -21 8.71

Total .....---...--------....... .....--- ..... -241 100.00

Only those homemakers who thought the price of avocados was high.

pated purchases was that the avocados available were of good
external appearance. Nine percent had purchased them because
they were available, 12 percent because they added variety to
meal menus and 15 percent because the respondent recalled that
some member of the family especially liked their taste (Table 27).
About one-fourth of the users said there had been times when
they had intended to purchase avocados but, after examining
them at the food store, decided not to buy any. Almost one-half
of these homemakers did not purchase those available because
they were not of the preferred degree of firmness. Homemakers
not buying for this reason were about equally divided between
those who thought that the avocados available were too soft and
those who thought they were too hard for immediate use. Avo-
cados were not purchased by 11 percent of the homemakers be-
cause of "brown spots" and by 13 percent because they were of
undesirable appearance. About 12 percent did not purchase those
available because they were too high in price (Table 28).








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 39

TABLE 27.-REASONs GIVEN BY HOMEMAKERS FOR UNANTICIPATED
BUYING OF AVOCADOS.*

Reasons Number Percent


Good external appearance ..----..........-....... 92 36.08

Respondent remembered that
member of family likes them ............................ 39 15.29

To add variety to menu ........----.................---... 30 11.76

Price factor .............................................. 19 7.45

Avocados were available ........................................ 23 9.02

Likes to try new foods ........................................ 17 6.67

Attractive display ......................... .................... 7 2.75

Were of preferred ripeness .......................-.......... 7 2.75

Had not served recently ....................................... 6 2.35

Do not know .........................-------... ..... ....-.. 5 1.96

N ot ascertained ............................. ..................... 10 3.92

Total ---.... ... ---...................--.................... 255 100.00

Only those homemakers who bad made unanticipated purchases in the past.


TABLE 28.-REASONS GIVEN BY HOMEMAKERS FOR NOT BUYING
AvocADos FOUND ON MARKET.*

Reasons Number Percent


Too soft ................................. ................... 38 26.76

Too hard for immediate use ....---......--........-- ..... 32 22.53

Brown spots ........--.............- ---.----..-..-- 15 10.56

Undesirable appearance (unspecified) .............. 19 13.38

Other quality factors ................................. ....... 11 7.75

Price factor ...................... ..-------.... ...... 17 11.97

O their ........................................ ....... ..................... 6 4.23

Not ascertained ............... .......... ... ............... 4 2.82

Total .................................. .............. .............. 142 100.00

Only those homemakers who had not purchased avocados after examining them at the
food store.







40 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

Other Factors Affecting Rate of Use.-Considerations of
taste were most important in the decisions of homemakers to
use avocados in the family food plan. Approximately one-half
of the homemakers who had used avocados at home in the past
indicated they bought this fruit because they liked the taste.
The next most frequent reason given for buying them was that
they added variety to meal menus. Few mentioned that they
bought this fruit because of its food value (Table 29).

TABLE 29.-REASONs GIVEN BY HOMEMAKERS FOR BUYING AVOCADOS.*

Reasons Number Percent

Taste factor .......................................... ............. 267 49.54
Adds variety to menu ............................... ......... 61 11.32
Food value ................................................................ 26 4.82
Combines well with other foods .......................- 19 3.52
Good for special occasions ....----..................... .... 11 2.04
Ease of preparation ..............-- ----..-- ----............ 6 1.11
Other ................................. .. ................. ...... .. 23 4.27
Do not know ...................................--- -......-. 52 9.65
Not ascertained .....................................-..... 74 13.73

Total ------......................... ... ...........- 539 100.00

Homemakers who had served avocados at home some time prior to the interview.

When the homemaker was asked if there was anything that
she or some member of her family disliked about avocados, an
affirmative response was given in about 37 percent of the cases.
Further questioning revealed that these dislikes pertained large-
ly to taste considerations (Table 30). About 29 percent of the
homemakers indicated a personal dislike for their taste, 15 per-
cent mentioned the husband as a family member disliking their
taste and 17 percent indicated the family disliked their taste
without mentioning a particular member. About 9 percent said
the children of the family did not like the taste of avocados.
Compared to the taste factor, cost and nutritional considerations
were relatively unimportant.








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 41

TABLE 30.-HOMEMAKERS' DISLIKES FOR AVOCADOS.*

Dislikes Number Percent

Considerations of taste ........ ....... .................. 166 82.18
Family does not like them ........... ..... 35 17.33
Husband does not like them .................. 30 14.85
Children do not like them .......................... 18 8.91
Respondent does not like them ................ 59 29.21
Bland or no taste ................. ..-.. ....... 12 5.94
Sometimes avocados are bitter .................. 6 2.97
Other considerations of taste .....--............... 6 2.97
Nutritional considerations ............................... 14 6.93
Cost considerations .........................-...- .. 8 3.96
Other .................. .................. 14 6.93

Total -....--- ......... -................ 202 100.00

Only those homemakers who had particular dislikes for avocados.

As a further indication of the importance of taste in the
decision to purchase avocados, about one-half of the homemakers
bought them because some particular member of the family
especially liked them. In about 40 percent of the instances, it
was the housewife herself who liked them. In about 25 percent
of the cases, the husband was named and in about 5 percent the
children were named. A fondness on the part of the homemaker
and at least one other member of the family was found in about
30 percent of the cases.
In order to establish the attitude of consumers about present
use rates, homemakers were asked whether any of the family
members would like to have avocados served in the home more
frequently. About 40 percent of the homemakers who had used
avocados at some time in the past indicated that they or some
member of the family would like to have avocados more often
than they customarily served them. Among the family members
mentioned, the homemaker was included in about 70 percent of
the cases and the husband in about 16 percent.







42 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

PREFERENCES FOR AVOCADOS GROWN IN DIFFERENT
PRODUCING AREAS
Homemakers interviewed in this survey did not possess a
preference for avocados grown in a particular area. This was
shown in two ways. First, over one-half of the users were unable
to mention more than one state as a producing area. Second,
among the users who were familiar with two or more producing
areas, only 11 percent indicated a preference for avocados from
one or more of these growing areas. The actual number of re-
spondents indicating a preference was only 25. This number
was not considered of sufficient size to justify further consider-
ation of the areas from which avocados were preferred or of
the reasons for these preferences.

PREFERRED DEGREE OF FIRMNESS AT TIME OF PURCHASE
Most of the homemakers who had purchased avocados at
some time in the past expressed a preference with respect to
the degree of firmness of the fruit at time of purchase. It has
been previously noted that, in many instances, homemakers did
not purchase those available because they were not of the pre-
ferred degree of firmness.
Almost one-half of the homemakers indicated they preferred
avocados firm as compared to 14 percent who preferred those
that were soft at time of purchase (Table 31). The principal
advantage mentioned by homemakers for buying fruit firm in
texture was that this degree of firmness provided considerable
flexibility with respect to time of use; that is, it was not neces-
sary to use them immediately after a purchase was made. Con-
versely, most of those who indicated a preference for avocados
that were soft at time of purchase based this preference on the
reasoning that they could use them immediately.
Consumer preferences with respect to the degree of firmness
rest largely, therefore, upon the expected time interval between
purchase and use. Even though 12 percent of the respondents
indicated that their preference depended upon use, a large pro-
portion of these homemakers were referring to the expected
lapse between the time avocados are purchased and the time they
are used. Homemakers who did not anticipate immediate use
preferred avocados that were firm, whereas those who desired to
use them immediately preferred avocados that were soft at time
of purchase.







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 43

TABLE 31.-HOMEMAKERS' PREFERENCE WITH RESPECT TO DEGREE OF
FIRMNESS OF AVOCADOS AT TIME OF PURCHASE.*

Preference Number Percent

Firm ............................. ... 248 46.01
Soft .. --.............. ------...... ....... ......------ ..... 75 13.91
Hard -............ ....... .......... .... ............. 26 4.82
Depends on use ........... ...... ..- ............. ....- 63 11.69
Purchase kind available .............--- ....... ...... ........ 17 3.15
No preference ................... ... .................. .. 14 2.60
Respondent has not purchased avocados ......... 19 3.53
Do not know ........---.....--........ .. .-------- 43 7.98
Not ascertained ............... ...... ................ ... -34 6.31

Total ............ .... .... ........... ......-- 539 100.00

Homemakers who had served avocados at home some time prior to the interview.

PREFERENCES WITH RESPECT TO SHAPE OF AVOCADOS
The homemaker's preference was determined for avocados
of three distinct shapes (see Figure 2). Life size black and
white photographs were used. The three photographs were
mounted on a single placard and shown simultaneously to re-
spondents.
Avocados selected and photographed for the test were equal
in weight and were shown actual size so that the choices made
would be based on shape alone.
The avocado designated "A" exemplifies the most commonly
marketed Florida fruit, the distinguishing characteristic being
its "pear" shape. Avocado "B" represents round varieties also
produced in Florida but marketed in limited quantities in com-
parison with "A." The avocado shown in photograph "C" is
considered typical in shape of fruit commonly produced in Cali-
fornia although several minor varieties grown in Florida also
possess this shape characteristic.
Practically all homemakers having a preference selected as
first choice either avocado "A" or "C." About 44 percent selected
avocado "C" as a first choice and 33 percent selected the avocado
designated "A." An additional 12 percent had no preference for
any of the three shapes (Table 32).











rf-






i.B c






c 3.
FL















l'ig. 2.-Inree shapes o0 avocados lor wnicn consumer preferences were measured.








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 45

TABLE 32.-DISTRIBUTION OF FIRST PREFERENCE FOR AVOCADOS
OF THREE DIFFERENT SHAPES.*

Photograph ** Number Percent

A ----------------------------------- 176 32.65
B ......... -........ ...................................... 176 32.65
B ......................................... ... ........... 20 3.71
C ----------------------------------------------......................................................................... 239 44.34
No preference ......--......---- ... -- ..---- ......--- 65 12.06
Not ascertained ......------.......... -- ............... .. 39 7.24

Total ................... ........- -.................. 539 100.00

Homemakers who had served avocados at home some time prior to the interview.
** See page 44, Figure 2.

The full order of preference for the three shapes of avocados
tested could not be assumed from the number of respondents
selecting as first choice either "A," "B" or "C." Therefore, fur-
ther analysis was made to determine the first, second and third
preference. The number of respondents selecting avocado "A"
as second choice was larger than the number selecting "C" or
"B," whereas "B" was selected as third choice more than either
"A" or "C." Consequently, the full order of preference was de-
termined to be "C" first, "A" second and "B" third.

EVALUATION OF FINDINGS

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM INVOLVED IN THE
MARKET PROMOTION OF AVOCADOS
The problem involved in the market expansion of avocados
is closely related to the extent to which they are presently known
about and used. The entire supply of avocados marketed for
home consumption is purchased by approximately one-third of
the population as indicated by this sample of homemakers. Fur-
ther, the consumption rate is generally low among those who
purchase avocados for home use. Thus, in practically all cases
they constitute an extremely small portion of the total diet.
The survey results suggest that a dislike for the taste of
avocados is one of the important reasons for the low consumption
rate. In addition to taste considerations, the manner and occa-
sion for serving them in the home appear to have a substantial








46 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

bearing upon the infrequency with which they are purchased.
Avocados are not served in a wide variety of ways. Also, the
occasions for serving them are restricted almost entirely to meal-
time, more specifically the dinner meal. Furthermore, home-
makers do not regard them as a food which complements princi-
pal items on the meal menu.
A general lack of familiarity with avocados is characteristic
of those who are nonusers. A substantial proportion of the non-
users are totally unfamiliar with them, while others are only
vaguely aware of them as a food. Those who know about them,
but are nonusers, appear quite unfamiliar with the quality char-
acteristics of this fruit as well as ways in which they can be pre-
pared for serving.
Findings related to existing use patterns reveal the extensive
potential that exists for an expanded market. The wide di-
vergence in the general use patterns seems to indicate, however,
that two distinct problems exist with respect to market pro-
motion. First, the widespread nonuse of avocados indicates a
need for promotional approaches designed primarily as an intro-
ductory measure or to encourage initial use. Second, the fact
that they are used infrequently by those who do purchase them
indicates the possible effectiveness of promotional appeals with
emphasis on increasing existing purchase rates.
Promotional efforts designed as an introductory measure and
those designed to increase existing consumption rates are some-
what different in nature. The objective of an introductory ap-
proach would be to create among consumers an awareness of avo-
cados as a food. The primary purpose of the latter approach
would be to encourage the more frequent use of avocados among
those who presently know about and use them. Since the two
objectives are sufficiently different to be regarded as alternative
approaches for future promotional programs, the industry might
consider the relative merits of each in promoting the sale of
avocados. However, the two approaches would not be mutually
exclusive to the end of market promotion. Efforts designed to
increase existing consumption rates among those who use avo-
cados would have, to some extent, the effect of introduction to
those who either do not know about or who know about but do
not use avocados in the home. In practically all instances, pro-
motional activity will have this type of dual effect. However,
it would be inefficient, and perhaps undesirable, to undertake a








The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 47

promotional program involving a balance of resources between
introduction and increasing consumption rates. From this stand-
point, it becomes necessary for the industry to decide which is
the most efficient approach.
The most apparent advantage of an introductory approach
arises as a result of the large proportion of the population who
are nonusers. Those who have had little or no use experience
with them appear to outnumber those who use avocados in the
home about three to one. Thus, the market potential appears
to be somewhat larger with the nonusers.
Lack of familiarity and nonuse appear somewhat more char-
acteristic of low and medium income families than of high in-
come families. This means that the problem of introduction
applies more to the low and medium income group, while the
problem of increasing consumption rates applies more directly
to the high income segment of the population. However, avo-
cados are a specialty product and on a per pound basis are high
in price relative to most other fruits. This may be a major lim-
iting factor in the use of avocados by low income families. The
level of family income as a limiting factor to their use tends to
diminish the relative attractiveness of an introductory approach
directed toward the low income segment of the population. How-
ever, this does not rule out the use of an introductory approach
in future promotional programs. Nonfamiliarity and nonuse
appear to be widespread among all income groups. As an indica-
tion of this, only four out of 10 homemakers interviewed in the
high income group had served avocados in the home at some
time in the past.
From the standpoint of the consumer, indications are that
the immediate problem in market promotion is largely one of
introduction or encouraging initial use. Further, promotional
approaches of an introductory nature are likely to be most effec-
tive if directed toward the medium and the high income seg-
ments of the population.

AVAILABLE FUNDS FOR MARKET PROMOTION
The practical application of the findings of this study to the
problem of market promotion requires that consideration be given
to the amount of money which might be made available for pro-
motional activity. Extensive efforts carried out on a national
basis would entail large budgets for promotional programs. From








48 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

the standpoint of total value of production, the avocado industry
represents a relatively minor segment of Florida agriculture.
In comparison to some of the major crops produced in Florida,
the money available for the market promotion of avocados is
limited.
The existence of limited resources suggests the possible effec-
tiveness of a sequential attack on the problems of market pro-
motion. In other words, initial emphasis could be concentrated
in a specific area rather than attempting to cope with the over-
all problem. Since the immediate problem in the market promo-
tion of avocados is largely one of introduction, it would seem
desirable to concentrate initial effort on this type of approach.
After a period of time, the effectiveness of introductory ap-
proaches may tend to diminish as consumers become more fa-
miliar with this fruit. Then primary emphasis could be shifted
to an attempt to increase the rate at which they are consumed.

A CONSIDERATION OF ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO
MARKET PROMOTION
In addition to decisions about the use of programs designed
to introduce avocados or to increase consumption rates, the in-
dustry might consider the relative merits and limitations of
alternative promotional techniques. One possible approach would
be the use of mass communication media such as radio, news-
papers and magazines. An alternative approach would involve
promotional efforts among the various marketing agencies. The
problem of avocado marketing may rest not only with the con-
sumer but also with those engaged in the distribution and sale
of this fruit. Thus, efforts among those engaged in the market-
ing of avocados may be an effective means of market promotion.
The primary advantage in the use of mass communication
media for advertising lies in the fact that they reach a vast audi-
ence. For promoting the product under consideration, the cost
of some of these media is prohibitive. It is quite unlikely that
the avocado industry could support a sustained national radio or
television program. However, other types of media with equally
wide distribution could be employed on a restricted basis.
One such alternative media would be the use of advertising
in some of the more prominent magazines with nation-wide dis-
tribution. In view of the current budget for market promotion,
measures of this nature would be limited in intensity. The in-
dustry could probably afford only one or two full page advertise-







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 49

ments during a single marketing season. However, since the im-
mediate problem in the market promotion of avocados appears to
be one of introduction, this might be an effective means of ac-
quainting relatively large numbers with this fruit.
The use of newspapers as a medium for advertising is per-
haps more consistent with available resources than is advertising
on a national basis. Emphasis could be more readily concen-
trated in those areas which constitute a comparatively large mar-
ket for Florida grown fruits. As a result of limiting the area
of interest, the frequency with which consumers are exposed
to promotional effort could be materially increased.
To increase the effectiveness of promotional effort through
mass communication media, the industry might consider inform-
ing retailers concerning intentions to advertise. This might in-
clude the approximate dates as well as the medium to be em-
ployed. As a result, retailers might be more inclined to stock
avocados and also might emphasize avocados in their own adver-
tising programs.
It has been pointed out that the use of advertising media
with extensive coverage would necessarily be limited to a small
scale because of available resources for market promotion. This
difficulty may be partly overcome by advertising avocados jointly
with another agricultural commodity, such as Florida limes,
grapefruit or other citrus fruits. By combining resources for
market promotion, a broader coverage may be attained than
could otherwise be achieved through individual efforts.
Promotional efforts among those engaged in the distribution
and the sale of avocados would include two major objectives.
The first would be an effort to attain a wide distribution of avo-
cados among retail stores. The success of future promotional
programs will depend, in part, upon the availability of avocados
to consumers. In other words, no amount of promotional effort
can be successful in expanding consumer demand for avocados
among consumers who do not find them available at stores where
they usually shop. The results of this study indicate that avo-
cados are seldom or never available in a substantial number of
retail outlets. Even to high income families it appears that avo-
cados are not extensively available.
The fact that avocados are not widely used complicates the
problem of attaining a wide distribution among retail stores.
Avocados are a specialty product and are perishable in nature.
Small retail stores may find it unprofitable to handle this fruit







50 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

if it is necessary to purchase it in wholesale packs that are un-
reasonably large in relation to normal sales volume. Industry
marketing practices, therefore, must be designed to cope with
the problem of retail outlets of various size groups. Small whole-
sale packs may make it feasible for retail stores of limited volume
to handle avocados. This indicates the possible effectiveness of
making available wholesale packs of various sizes. Also, indi-
vidual packs containing fruit at different stages of maturity may
overcome, to some extent, the problem of deterioration which
may occur between the time of shipment and the time when the
entire pack is sold in retail outlets.
Additional efforts may be useful in attaining a distribution
of avocados among retail outlets. One approach would include
an effort to improve relations with those responsible for the pur-
chasing of avocados for retail distribution. In this case, em-
phasis would be placed upon creating an awareness of the avail-
ability of Florida avocados. Distributors and handlers could
also be kept abreast of improved marketing practices adopted
by the Florida avocado industry.
The second objective of promotional efforts among those en-
gaged in the marketing of avocados would be to acquaint re-
tailers with ways to improve methods of merchandising. It is
recognized that much additional information is needed regarding
the effects of retail store practices upon sales. Extensive re-
search would be required before the avocado industry could rec-
ommend the adoption of effective merchandising practices to
retailers. Decisions relating to the effects of pricing in multiple
units or by the pound or count could be objectively tested by
research. Research could also be conducted to determine how
variations in the size or location of displays might affect sales.
Results of such research work could be used to acquaint retailers
with improved methods of merchandising with respect to the
display and the handling of avocados.
A lack of familiarity with avocados is probably characteristic
of those engaged in the distribution and the sale of this fruit.
Store displays may be improved by acquainting the retailer with
methods of determining maturity stage and with the edibility of
this fruit at various stages of ripeness. The retailer could then
be encouraged to display only the most edible fruit or to arrange
displays so that avocados of different maturity stages can be so
indicated to the consumer.







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 51

In this study it was found that a substantial proportion of
the users had made impulsive or unanticipated purchases. Pur-
chases of this type may be somewhat more prevalent with a
specialty product than with a staple food. This indicates the
apparent importance of displays designed to attract the attention
of customers in retail stores. The industry might consider dis-
tributing among retailers materials designed to increase the
attractiveness of store displays. The fact that these materials
are provided and involve little extra expense to the retailer may
tend to increase incentives to improve the appearance of dis-
plays.
Promotional activity in retail stores may have one advantage
over the use of mass communication media-this type approach
would readily lend itself to the concentration of effort in specific
areas of interest. It would be possible, for example, to concen-
trate efforts in retail stores that serve families of relatively high
incomes. Other divisions could be made on the basis of different
racial groups as well as stores of various sizes and types of own-
ership. Emphasis could also be limited to particular geographic
areas.
There are at least two factors which limit promotional effort
among the various marketing agencies. One stems from the
fact that avocados are a specialty product. In other words, the
major concern of those engaged in the distribution and the sale
of agricultural commodities is likely to be with those foods which
constitute a relatively large proportion of the total sales in retail
outlets. It would be more difficult to encourage retailers to
improve methods of merchandising for a specialty product than
for a more important food item.
The costs entailed in retail store promotion provide a second
and perhaps a more important limitation to this type of activity
by the avocado industry. Dealer service promotion would in-
volve, for example, the employment of personnel for work in
retail outlets. In any event, extensive promotional activity at
the retail level on a national basis would not be possible because
of the limited funds available. However, the industry might
consider limiting initial effort to a restricted area such as a
small number of relatively large metropolitan areas. After a
period of time, emphasis could be shifted to other markets. Con-
centrated effort in a relatively small area is likely to be more
effective than a token effort for wide geographic areas.








52 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

RETURNS FROM RESOURCES EXPENDED FOR
MARKET PROMOTION
One of the important questions facing the Florida avocado
industry is whether resources expended for promotional activity
will be more than offset by added sales resulting from such
efforts. It is difficult, if not impossible, to measure the effects
of promotional activity on expanding consumer demand for an
agricultural commodity. However, some of the basic conditions
which affect the possibilities for increasing demand can be ex-
amined. It is also possible to point out some of the factors which
tend to affect the successfulness of advertising approaches.
One of the barriers to increasing the aggregate demand for
farm products results from the fact that there is a limit to the
total amount of food that can be consumed. And in this country
"a large proportion of the population generally consumes as large
"a quantity of food as they desire. This means that, assuming
no increases in population, any increase in the sales of one com-
modity results largely from a substitution of this product for
some other food.
The possibilities are, therefore, somewhat greater for expand-
ing sales of a particular commodity than for increasing the sale
of all foods. However, avocados are a specialty product and high
in price relative to most other fruits. Most of the substitution
of avocados for similar foods would involve an increase in total
expenditures for food. It is generally assumed that a relatively
constant proportion of family income is spent for food. There
is also a tendency for expenditures for particular groups or
classes of agricultural commodities to remain fairly constant.5
These factors tend to create an additional obstacle to increasing
demand for a relatively high priced agricultural commodity.
It appears reasonable to conclude that the difficulties en-
countered in the market promotion of farm products would be
greater than those encountered for most industrial products.
In the case of an agricultural commodity marketed in non-
processed form, it is difficult to maintain a constant quality prod-
uct. This is especially true in the marketing of fresh fruits and
vegetables and avocados do not appear to be an exception.
The success of advertising depends partly upon whether the
product can be related to the promotional effort by the consumer
Within a particular group or class of an agricultural commodity, how-
ever, the per capital consumption of individual food items may change con-
siderably in a relatively short time.







The Consumer Market for Florida Avocados 53

when it is encountered in retail stores. The effectiveness of ad-
vertising Florida avocados is likely to be diminished if consumers
are unable to distinguish them from fruit grown in other pro-
ducing areas. This problem tends to be minimized, however,
by the fact that the peak marketing season for Florida avocados
occurs at a time when the shipments of California and Cuba avo-
cados are relatively low. Nevertheless, it is important that the
consumer recognize in retail stores the product currently ad-
vertised.
To the end of identifying Florida avocados, alternatives exist
with respect to institutional advertising or establishing a brand
name. Both methods have been employed for the market promo-
tion of various agricultural commodities. Although it is difficult
to ascertain the most effective approach, it is possible to cite in-
stances where both have been used with apparent success. The
citrus industry in California has apparently been successful in
identifying fresh oranges grown in that state by the use of a
brand name. On the other hand, product advertising has been
employed with apparent success in the market promotion of
potatoes grown in Idaho. One objective of the avocado industry
in the use of either approach would involve educating the con-
sumer with respect to a recognizable difference between Florida
avocados and those grown in other producing areas. Some of the
distinguishing characteristics which may be discernible to con-
sumers are size and external appearance.
The study results show that two-thirds of the homemakers
are aware of the fact that avocados are grown in Florida. In
light of this situation, the Florida industry might give increased
attention to the development of distinguishing marks for whole-
sale packages in order to establish an identity for the Florida
crop. In addition, consideration should also be given to the ad-
vantages of placing distinguishing marks or labels on the fruit
itself. This latter technique of establishing identity has not
been employed to any appreciable extent by the Florida avocado
industry, and might serve as an effective means of identifying
Florida grown fruit.
Finally, the extent to which the industry can carry out a sus-
tained promotional program will likely have a bearing upon the
success of future promotional appeals. Relatively long periods
of time may be involved in an attempt to accustom consumers
to the regular use of avocados in the home. Thus, infrequent or








54 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

sporadic promotional effort is likely to be ineffective in increasing
consumer demand for Florida avocados.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors wish to acknowledge the cooperation received from the
following individuals and organizations during various phases of the work
leading to this report.
The 1955-56 Florida Avocado Administrative Committee furnished fi-
nancial assistance in support of this work. Particular credit is due to Mr.
David M. Biggar, Manager of the Committee, for his many helpful sug-
gestions and sound advice.
Mr. J. C. Noonan, Assistant Horticulturist of the Subtropical Experi-
ment Station, provided technical assistance in the preparation of visual
materials employed in this study.
Mr. Earl E. Houseman, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, provided
much valuable assistance and advice in designing the sample. In connection
with the design of the survey questionnaire, Mrs. Esther Hochstim, Divi-
sion of Special Surveys, USDA, offered many helpful suggestions.
Mr. Kenneth E. Rench and Mrs. Katherine Lutz, Dayton Branch of the
Ohio Employment Service, were especially helpful in obtaining qualified
enumerators to conduct the interviews.










KEEP INFORMED ABOUT


Florida's

Agricultural Research




For You It Can Mean Better Yields of Crops and
Animal Products, Improved Practices, Less Cost, More
Income, Help in Fighting Plant and Animal Pests.

*

Read

Sunshine State Agricultural

RESEARCH REPORT

Issued January, April, July and October

It's Free-Just Write

AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA





University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs