First edition of the Tropical Fruit Congress

During the first Tropical Fruit Congress organised at Macfrut, it emerged that product boards are doing a lot when it comes to the growth in the consumption of tropical fruit such as mangoes and avocados. Thanks to the cooperation of the main operators and the help of public institutions, the boards can focus on promotion and R&D.

Leonardo Ortega, Research Manager for the National Mango Board and Xavier Equihua, CEO at WAO (World Avocado Organization), both agreed on it.

Leonardo Ortega

The WAO, created by Peru, South Africa, Mexico and the US, is actually a super-board, as it is the first international organisation for the promotion of a single product.

Above: Xavier Equihua. Below: the activities carried out by WAO

Both organisations play a crucial role as, although they do not deal with commercialisation directly, they develop and implement all marketing, promotion, communication, in-store and operator training activities. Being a board member means taking part in big marketing campaigns and financing research.

The promotion of avocados in Europe has led to significant results in just a few years. The WAO placed almost 4 million kg of avocados on the European market in 2016 and managed to place 5.30 million in 2017, exceeding its own expectations (of 4.50 million kg).

WAO: above, the countries and chains with which it worked in 2018. Below: others with which it started working in 2018.

Xavier Equihua showed an impressive array of promotional activities both online and offline in various European countries. 

WAO managed to focus all its initiatives on a single retail chain thanks to co-marketing. In some cases, it combined avocados with another super-food such as California walnuts.

WAO: a food truck to promote avocados!

The promotion of mangoes on the US market also saw the collaboration with endorsers such as dietitians and restaurateurs. In addition, in-store initiatives and social campaigns to deseasonalise consumption and supply instructions on how to choose and use them were also carried out. The National Mango Board (established in 2005) also has a research programme to monitor mango flow, improve product quality and study its nutritional qualities. 

The US mango board wondered why people weren't purchasing the fruit: it emerged that it was mainly because consumers didn't know the product

It even drafted a manual available in various languages for operators. Leonardo Ortega illustrated the method used to assess the impact of all this initiatives on the mango consumption trend. In the end, operators saw a return of over $18 for each dollar invested on board activities!

Avocados and mangoes on the European market 
"The tropical fruit category is growing a lot in Europe, as consumers are choosing them day after day. Their success in countries like France, Germany, Holland and even Italy comes from a new cultural approach to food: these two fruits have been at the centre of the latest health trends and it has become easier to find recipes and exotic ingredients," explained Cesena Fiera President Renzo Piraccini.

Renzo Piraccini

CSO director Elisa Macchi talked about the scenario on European markets. France is the leading avocado consumer with 114 thousand tons in 2016 and a constant growth over the past 10 years (+42% between 2007 and 2016). Mangoes reached 40 thousand tons with a 76% increase over the past 10 years. Germany tends to prefer mangoes, with almost 65 thousand tons in 2016 (+56% compared to 2007). Avocados are gaining ground though, as volumes have almost tripled over the past ten years (47 thousand tons in 2016, a 24% increase compared to the previous year).

Elisa Macchi's report

Volumes are much lower in Italy, but that's why growth trends are higher. The consumption of avocados went from the 3,600 tons of 2007 to the over 13 thousand of 2016 (+261%) and that of mangoes almost doubled: from 4,500 tons in 2007 to almost 9,000 in 2016.

The chain
Carlos Crisosto, researcher from the University of California, talked about maintaining fruit quality and especially about the damage caused by low temperatures and sudden temperature changes. Handling and storage times should be reduced along the chain to avoid damaging the produce. 

The convention ended with the "How to sell Mangoes and Avocados" workshop, in which producers, importers and retailers took part.

Spreafico general director Raffaele Spreafico, McGarlet CEO Luca Garletti,, Eurogroup CEO Ulrich Spieckermann and Nature's Pride Sales Manager Adrielle Dankier all took part.

Tropical Fruit Congress was organised by Cesena Fiera. Sponsors: Abl, AgroFresh, Aweta, Bertuzzi Food Processing, Cold Energy, Decco, Felix Instruments, Frunet, Ghelfi, Graziani, Mc Garlet, Nespak, Reyes Gutierrez, Sermac, Spreafico, Tr Turoni, Turatti, World Avocado Organization.

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