Continental Fresh LLC imports mangos throughout the year, but its real time to shine is in the period from late summer into November when Brazilian mangos take center stage.
The Coconut Grove, FL-based company is one of the larger importers of mangos from Brazil, as it has been importing from that South American country for almost two decades.
“We’ve been working in Brazil for 18 years,” said Albert Perez, the company’s managing partner. “We’ve established a very good relationship with a couple of shippers.”
Continental Fresh received its first load of Brazilian mangos into Miami Aug. 20, and Mr. Perez said shipments should continue until early November, with the weather playing a role in the length of the season. Mr. Perez said he expects to bring in 140 loads this year, which would amount to about 750,000 cartons of Brazilian fruit.
“Not only do we bring in a large quantity of mangos, but we also bring in the best Brazil has to offer,” Mr. Perez said. “This year we will be one of only two importers handling the ‘Suemi’ label, the premium mango label from Brazil.”
He explained that the label is named after the owner of the farm, who is of Japanese descent and takes great care to produce the best mango pack possible.
“I am particularly fond of the part of the year where Brazilian mangos dominate,” Mr. Perez said. “That is typically when mangos are at their highest price.”
Mexico usually finishes up sometime in mid-September (a bit earlier this year) and Ecuador doesn’t get going into full production until sometime in November. That leaves much of September and all of October to Brazil.
Because Brazil also has strong movement to Europe at this time of the year, Mr. Perez said, the country’s mangos are in good demand and command the relatively high U.S. price. But although the cost to retailers is higher than it is the rest of the year, Mr. Perez said it is still a good time to promote the product and will set up many promotions with retailers. In fact, he said while the spot market for mangos during this mid-September discussion was in the range of $8, they have pre-commitments at a lower price, as do all the importers. He said those pre-committed prices are what help the spot market remain strong.
This occurs because a significant percentage of the Brazilian mangos landing on the U.S. shores are already sold, causing a very beneficial supply-demand curve for the Brazilian shippers.
After the Brazilian deal, Continental Fresh will sell mangos from other South American and Central American counties, including Ecuador, Peru and Guatemala. Mr. Perez is especially excited for the expansion of the Honduras import program he has in the works for later in the winter.
The company has been importing cucumbers, watermelons and squash from Honduras for the last few years. This year, he said, the program will be expanded significantly. “We will have all three of those items from January through April,” he said.
Under the squash umbrella, he said Continental Fresh will be importing butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash, along with watermelons and cucumbers, which make up the largest volume of the three categories.