San Diego-based Coast Tropical built a couple of new packingsheds in Mexico last year, and this year the company is reaping the rewards.
“So far we have had a steady increase in volume all year,” said Isabel Freeland, vice president of the firm. “The quality has been very good. We’ve had a very good crop of Ataulfos, especially.”
Moving forward, she said heavy volume should begin by the third week of June when the Nayarit district is in full swing. So far, “retail support has been very good, especially in the last two weeks,” she said in mid-May. “We have experienced a little drop in price [because of increased volume] so hopefully we will see more promotions at retail.”
Freeland was echoing the sentiments of many when she said the industry needs some new packaging options for retailers. “We would love to see bagged mangos, but we haven’t found anything yet that can preserve quality and the shelf life.”
She is not a big proponent of the clamshell. “People have tried the clamshell but it just doesn’t work or it would have taken over by now. It’s just not good for the fruit.”
Freeland said last year’s recall, which did not directly involve Coast Tropical, has led to increased scrutiny in every packingshed. While she applauded that effort, she is still a little bit miffed about the recall itself, which was caused by reports from federal agencies that there might be an issue. Freeland said there was never a direct link to mangos, yet the industry lost a lot of fruit through lost sales and the recall.
This year she sees no hangover from the event as movement and sales are good. “It’s a strong market and I think we will have a good season until the end. How long it lasts depends on the rain and how early it comes. If we get no rain, we will last longer” into the fall.