ORLANDO, FL -- The National Mango Board is reporting record-setting
mango import volume from April 1 to Aug. 15. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture's Market News database shows volume that's 15 percent higher
than the same period in 2009 and higher than any year on record for the
Favorable growing conditions across multiple regions have contributed to the
record-setting volume. The primary source of growth was Mexico, which
increased its volume of mangos exported to the United States by 18 percent
compared to 2009 for the same period.
"The spike in volume, particularly in the front part of the season, is attributed
mainly to the increased production of Ataulfos," Ken Nabal, vice president of
sales and logistics for Frontera Produce Ltd., said in an Aug. 19 press release
from the National Mango Board. "It's important to note that the yellow-skin
mango sales have been mostly incremental as regular mango movement is
growing as well."
The board launched marketing initiatives in the consumer, retail and
foodservice sectors to help drive demand for this sizable crop. Early in the
season, NMB spokesperson and Latin entertaining expert Ingrid Hoffmann
appeared on the NBC "Today Show"'s Cinco de Mayo "Guac Off," reaching
more than 4 million viewers.
Ms. Hoffmann included mangos in her guacamole recipe and quipped to host
Al Roker that she was celebrating Cinco de Mango, the catchphrase for an
NMB marketing initiative. Ms. Hoffmann also appeared in the board's
Celebrate Summer video segment, which reached approximately 50 million
viewers on broadcast TV, cable TV and the Internet. The Celebrate Summer
segment featured Ms. Hoffmann demonstrating her Cuban Mango Melt
sandwich, and showing viewers how easy it is to select, ripen and cut a
Mango coverage in consumer magazines, newspapers and on-line has grown
to an unprecedented level in 2010 due to the board's ongoing media
programs coupled with the mango's rising star as a hot food trend. In the first
two quarters of 2010, U.S. consumers were exposed to mango messages
more than 339 million times, which is a 49 percent increase over 2009 results
for the same period, according to the release.
In the foodservice arena, mangos continue to gain prominence. Mangos have
been front and center throughout the summer months at Pei Wei Asian Diner,
a fast-casual chain with more than 160 locations in 21 states. The Thai
Mango Chicken has been its featured limited-time-offer entree, including
extensive promotion in stores, on its website and on Facebook, driving the
dish to the number one volume position. The chain promoted a large-scale
contest with a scratch-off card covered in mango graphics and an on-line
cooking class featuring four mango recipes. The board has been working with
P.F. Chang's, Pei Wei's parent company, since 2007 to get fresh mangos
featured more prominently on its menus.
The retail sector has also shown significant support for mangos with
secondary displays and more than 1,800 demonstration events executed so
far this year. The board developed specialized point-of-sale materials to
educate consumers about yellow-skinned and green-skinned mangos. More
than 8,500 of these pieces have been shipped to retailers nationwide.
"The response from retailers this year has been really exciting,” NMB Director
of Marketing Wendy McManus said in the release. “They are reporting
stronger mango sales than in previous years, and they have been more willing
to promote mangos."
Early results show a positive trend developing in retail mango sales for 2010.
First-quarter mango sales per store per week were up 39 percent compared
to first quarter 2009, and second-quarter mango sales per store per week
were up 20 percent over 2009, according to data from The Perishables
Group’s Fresh Facts system.
Preliminary forecasts indicate that volume for the fall-winter season will also
be strong. Brazil already began shipping in late July, with Ecuador following
close behind with shipments expected to start in late September. Updated
information will be posted at www.mango.org/crop as it becomes available.
"The work of the NMB has really been changing the industry as a whole and
helping to increase the consumption, especially in these high volume
periods," Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales for Vision Import Group, said
in the release. "By comparison, a few years back we would have had a severe
oversupply situation which would have had an adverse effect on the growers."