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Mexican mangoes support category growth

April 24, 2015 | 1:41 pm EDT

The Mexican deal is breathing new life into the growing mango category, according to Jose Rossignoli, category general manager at Robinson Fresh Worldwide Inc., Eden Prairie, Min.

“The Peruvian season was challenged by lower yields, a decreased export volume out of Peru, declined demand in the Northeast part of the U.S. due to the cold weather front, as well as slowdowns at the West Coast ports disrupting the flow of supply,” Rossignoli said.

“All of these culminated in a difficult three weeks of the Peruvian season. However, the movement into Mexico is showing signs of a healthy start,” he said.

Shippers are excited for the potential growth in the mango category this year as demand continues to increase.

“I think mangoes will be the number one fruit this year in terms of added sales because of the increase in availability,” said Robert Schueller, public relations director for Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, which markets the Melissa’s brand.

The National Mango Board reports an increase of 53% since they began marketing mangoes in 2005.

Some growth in the category is coming from domestic production, Schueller said.

“This is the largest and strongest California season we’ve seen. We’re seeing an extended season for that starting in late July and running through October. It’s really exciting we’re able to grow the green keitts here in the desert region,” he said.

Ken Nabal, president of Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Kingston Fresh, believes the biggest opportunity for growth is the Midwest.

“About 25 years ago, I didn’t know much about mangoes, but now I’m a believer,” he said.

Nabal also believes mangoes should be targeted to young children.

“It’s important we introduce mangoes to kids right away so they’ll like it. They eat what their parents eat,”  he said.

A projected large crop for 2015 means retailers will have ample opportunities to promote.

Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales and partner for Vision Import Group, Los Angeles, said he is hoping retailers and foodservice industries take advantage of the increase in volume.

“Mexico is increasing in volume each year, so last year was the exception, not the rule, and we need everyone to put mangoes on special because there will be a lot of opportunities for promotions and ads,” Cohen said.

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