Tracey Altman gives GHQ the Wholly on Guacamole

Tracey Altman, the vice president of marketing for Fresherized Foods, the makers of Wholly Guacamole, talks about why  guacamole is so popular and what is in the pipeline for 2013.

Grocery Headquarters: It seems like Avocados are everywhere now.

Tracey Altman: I know, isn’t it great? It is so exciting to see the category grow and consumers really catching on to this healthy and yummy fruit. The last two years we have seen restaurants really adding it to their menus – and not just Mexican ones. We all know consumers will order it out first and then bring the idea home. It is a topper, condiment, ingredient and dip now. With health on everyone’s mind, especially this time of year, we are encouraging consumers to switch from mayo and ranch to avocado/guacamole for their condiment. It always makes me laugh to see their first “hmmm” reaction and then when they bite into a turkey wrap with guacamole or a BLT with avocado, they are like “mmmmmmm.”

Tell us some major milestones that Wholly hit in 2012:

Our biggest accomplishment was hitting number one branded dip in the refridgerated dip category. Who knew? Five years ago when we launched this brand, we were #12. It really shows the change in consumer-eating behavior and the growth of the category.

2012 was a great year for us, for our Wholly Guacamole and for our Wholly Salsa products. We re-launched our Wholly Salsa line and introduced five new flavors. And although this is a salsa line, we’re finding consumers are getting more savvy with using salsa. The Roasted Tomato is a great base for meatloaf or chili, the Red Pepper Mango mixed with rice or veggies for a side with grilled chicken. It has been great to add these flavors and options to the produce section.

Are you an avocado or guacamole brand?

BOTH! We are part of a great category that serves consumers with so many options. Our biggest product offerings are guacamole, but we also offer chunky avocado in a tray and in snack packs. Our goal is to help grow the category. So if consumers make their own guacamole on Sunday with fresh fruit and use us during the week when convenience is a factor, we all win. The avocado category is really growing a lot of it has to do with consumer education on the great health benefits of avocados. They want all natural, no preservative, ingredients they can pronounce and we are all that—and a bag of chips!

What is on the horizon for 2013?

We’re expanding our Wholly Guacmaole Snack Packs with Chunky Avocado. These 100 calorie snack packs are perfect for snacks, lunch and condiment use. Walmart has picked them up and we expect distribution to continue to grow through-out the year. Our 100 Cal snack pack flavors (Classic and Spicy guacamole) have proven to be a great way for folks to test the product in a lot of different ways. Over eggs for breakfast, as snack with veggies and as a sandwich spread for lunch. By driving usage and offering more flavors and variety, we expect our snack pack line to do very well this year. We are also excited about our growing Wholly Salsa line. Our layered salsa – guacamole and spicy pico and our avocado verde are doing really well. We have some new great flavors launching this summer.

You have been very supportive of Supermarket Dietitians as well. Why are they important to your business?

The fact is grocery stores are becoming very strategic with consumers on becoming a resource and dieticians are their secret weapon. We’ve been so lucky to meet some great dietitians. They are smart, saavy and are helping us get out the word on avocado/guacamole. The fact that they are working one on one with customers daily to educate them about the produce section and the store as a whole, how to read labels; it’s really key to helping our society make good choices about our own personal health. What is great about the dietitians is not only their influence on the consumers but in the store as well. They want to stock good products that are all natural and good for their customers and when we’re able to work with them and provide them good information that is easy for them to use, it is a win/win for all of us.

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