NEW ORLEANS — When Rouses Markets decided earlier this year to build a display with 112,000 avocados, the plan was always to set the world record in the store on Tchoupitoulas Street and then move fruit to neighboring stores to continue Avocado Fest across the chain.
The massive display, designed to look like a Mardi Gras float, wowed in person and online, and many shoppers came to the store specifically for the promotion and bought dozens of avocados for jaw-dropping price of 3/25 cents, thanks to an Avocados From Mexico coupon. On Facebook, however, some consumers expressed concern about the potential for food waste.
Rob Ybarra, director of produce for Rouses, said the retailer experienced a phenomenal sales day Dec. 4, the debut of the record-setting display, and then moved about half the fruit to nine other stores, where they continue to sell for 3/$1 — still the lowest price in the market.
If any avocados are too ripe to sell, Rouses will use them for the guacamole it makes in-store to sell in its fresh-cut section.
"Nobody wants to throw anything away, especially great avocados," Ybarra said Dec. 5.
Rouses also donated fruit to the culinary program at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.
He noted that sales have remained brisk as Rouses has enjoyed a perfect storm in terms of timing given football festivities always ramp up interest in avocados; LSU (12-0) plays Georgia (11-1) for the SEC championship on Saturday, and the Saints (10-2) take on the San Francisco 49ers (10-2) on Sunday.