By pretty much any measure, mango movement has been impressive over the last few years. Volume continues to increase and the f.o.b. prices are remaining fairly strong.
According to Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales and a partner in Vision Import Group LLC in River Edge, NJ, it’s time for some better packaging to continue the sales gains of this tropical fruit.
The former chairman of the board of the National Mango Board (2012) recently told The Produce News that mangos lend themselves to some innovative packaging. He made it clear he is talking about value-added but not fresh-cut, though processors are doing well cutting up mangos in one configuration or another.
“We have a few ideas in the design stage that could work,” he said.
He indicated there needs to be more opportunities for consumers to pick up mangos at retail in various forms. He said a grab-and-go configuration might offer some opportunities as well as a two pack and maybe a half carton.
Like others in the industry, Cohen has seen the sales of mangos increase, but yet there are still many shoppers (especially Anglos) who aren’t regular purchasers. He said more options and some different packs should help the entire category.
Besides looking for different options, Vision Import Group is also debuting a new high graphics box this summer. Cohen said it is a more attractive carton that will help show the mangos in a more favorable light.
With regard to the crop itself, he said it has been a fairly good season from a supply standpoint as “volume has been decent throughout the Mexican season. We haven’t had an oversupply problem and overall the pricing has been pretty good.”
He did say, however, that the extended winter that gripped much of the country isn’t the most favorable conditions for marketing mangos. From his New Jersey perch, Cohen has experienced very limited spring weather. “We need some warm weather to move big volume,” he said.
In that regard, the weather did seem to be cooperating as May progressed. Early in the month, there was a bit of an East Coast heat wave and late in the month, the weather was returning to a fairly normal pattern with high temperatures approaching 80 degrees.
But like others in the industry, Cohen noted that mango importers are moving more volume in the United States on an annual basis and still getting a good market price.
“From my perspective the deal has increased. It is both a challenge and exciting,” he said, to match supply and demand and have an f.o.b. price good for the industry that also equates to a reasonable retail price that can affect movement.