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National Mango Board to launch expanded consumer program

Buoyed by an increase in assessment, the National Mango Board is ramping up its promotional programs in an effort to continue growing the mango category.

"With the increased assessment that we began collecting last fall, we have a very nice program in place for 2013," said Bill Vogel, president of Vision Produce Co. in Los Angeles, who is the 2013 chairman of the National Mango Board. "We've also been able to increase our research component by tying in with the Center for Produce Safety, which is doing a project for us this year."

Mr. Vogel said other research is ongoing that continues to find links between good health and mango consumption. He is very excited about the future of the mango because he said consumption is increasing, yet mangos still are not consumed by the majority of people.

"The number of people who have mangos on their shopping list when they head to the market is pretty low," he said. "We still have a lot of opportunity for growth."

Megan McKenna, director of marketing for the National Mango Board, said, "For the first time we are executing a fully integrated marketing program around the theme Mangover. Mango + Makeover = Mangover. Mangover is all about making over your meals with mangos to add excitement and fun to everyday meals."

To introduce the Mangover concept, NMB is creating a launch event in a hub for prominent national media, major syndicated programs and popular weekly magazines. Hosted by the commodity group's celebrity spokesperson, the launch will bring to life the Mangover concept and demonstrate how easy and fun it can be for families to enjoy mangos.

Of course, the goal is to convince consumers to use mangos in a variety of different ways. Mr. Vogel said that one such idea is to add a cut mango to a salsa.

"The key is to give the consumer a positive experience with mangos," he said. "Once she has had a good experience, she will buy mangos over and over again."

Ms. McKenna said that mangos will be utilized in many different recipes in the rollout events. For example, she said it is easy to spice up many breakfast meals by adding mangos to such items as granola, oatmeal or waffles.

Besides the main event, NMB will push the concept through social media such as Facebook. NMB will run Mangover Facebook ads to drive "likes" and promote the concept, as well as encourage participation in a Facebook-hosted recipe contest.

Consumers will be challenged to create the best Mangover recipe, emphasizing how families can add mangos to familiar dishes to make them feel fresh again.

The recipes resulting from the contest will be used in other social media channels and will add to NMB's recipe library.

Beginning with the launch event and continuing through the summer months, the Mangover concept and celebrity spokesperson will be pitched to long-lead and short-lead media.

"These outreach efforts capitalize on current events and trends as they happen, ensuring mango messages are part of highly newsworthy stories," Ms. McKenna said.

The NMB executive said the board will continually promote mangos all year long, inviting consumers to "Mangover their season" by pairing mangos with traditional foods tied to specific times of year.

"Mango's role in these seasonal celebrations is to add interest to traditional foods," Ms. McKenna said. "For example, mango combined with juicy summer peaches to make the perfect cobbler, blueberries and mango in a nutritious smoothie, or cranberries and mango make a flavorful, fall chutney. These intriguing but approachable new takes on seasonal favorites are a relevant way to illustrate the Mangover concept for consumers."

Food bloggers are becoming very influential and the NMB will attempt to capitalize on this trend by hosting a popular offsite event for prominent food bloggers, where a hands-on tasting experience will be utilized to show how mango pairs with seasonal favorites.

The NMB will also continue to expand upon its existing nutrition messages through the development of five to eight new health and nutrition messages. These messages will align with applicable current trends covered in health and nutrition media. Messages will be based on existing published nutrition research or recommendations from authoritative health organizations.

Consumer research

The NMB conducted quantitative consumer attitude and usage research in 2007 and 2011 in an effort to track trends and identify marketing opportunities.

Research in 2013 will be designed to both track important trends from the previous efforts and to set up new areas of inquiries that provide important consumer insight on which to build new program outreach.

An online focus group will be conducted, engaging approximately 15 mango users and non-users to explore the benefits and barriers of purchasing and using mangos.

In addition an online survey among men and women, who are the primary grocery shopper and food preparers in their family, will be conducted to also chart attitudes about mangos.

Retail marketing

Regional trade shows are one of the major ways that the NMB connects with local retailers. Ms. McKenna said those shows "offer great opportunities to see retailers in a more relaxed setting, closer to their own home base." Participation varies between attending, sponsoring and having a booth.

The National Mango Board works with retailers in a variety of ways to push the fruit, including the development of point-of-sale materials; holding a Mango Mania display contest for small retailers; and designing and printing a new backroom piece aimed at communicating a single message: "Treat it like a banana." This poster reminds in-store personnel to focus on temperatures as the most important factor retailers can stress to improve mango quality.

In addition, the NMB has a demo training video online that can be used as a tool to quickly train demo operators how to cut a mango and how to judge ripeness, and it gives them a few key talking points for consumer interaction.

The NMB will also continue its Mango Retailer of the Year program and will work with both mid-sized and large retailers on customized merchandising programs.

Ms. McKenna said that promotional allocations are based on store counts, mango sales and the retailers' history of following through on promotions. To ensure that each country and growing region gets its fair share of promotions, allocation targets are set for each quarter based on the three-year historical volume.

The NMB does have freestanding mango displays available for retail use. These high-graphic mango displays will communicate the fun flavor of mangos while teaching shoppers how to cut the fruit and how to judge ripeness

The board also works with retailers on category development with several reports available that help the retailer understand the dynamics behind successful mango merchandising.

Research

The board has several research projects designed to improve the quality of the fruit as well increase consumption.

Areas being studied include ripe/ready-to-eat mangos, chilling injury project, evaluation of new technologies to increase shelf life, mango pitting disorders and a mango food safety program.

The objectives of the food-safety project is to conduct a thorough review of available information on strategies for minimizing mango contamination between production and consumption sites. The research will also assess production, harvesting, and post-harvesting and handling practices from farm to retailers to identify any potentials hazards and the possible risk point of fruit contamination

As previously mentioned, the NMB is also funding a number of studies designed to find links between good health and mango consumption. Among the areas being studies include the effects mango consumption may have on colon cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and breast cancer.