That means that the sweet-tasting yellow fruit will become more of a commodity and a produce department standard in the U.S., despite the fact that 99 per cent of the crop is imported, says Schueller.
Gearing up for a spring/summer influx
While currently, the first two months are the lowest-availability months for mangoes, volumes coming into the U.S. are strong right now. “Even though mangoes are available year-round in the U.S. the supplies and varieties are less than during the late fall and winter months,” says Schueller. “The peak of the season is spring and summer—that’s when you have more than six different varieties to choose from, not just three, and many countries are competing on top of the domestic source that’s available in the late summertime out of California; including Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.” Of course, that competition makes for a heated market and prices come down due to the availability of the fruit.
The case for tree-ripened
What Melissa’s is particularly seeing from consumers is an interest in tree-ripened mangoes; a ripening process available on many varietals of the fruit. “With tree-ripened, mangoes are allowed to be picked later than they are usually picked,” says Schueller. Traditionally, mangoes have to go through a cold-water treatment before importing, so they’re picked one or two weeks early. “But these tree-ripened varieties, which we’ve seen the strongest growth in, are kept on the vine for a week or two longer so you have a sweeter mango. Then they go through a radiation process so they don’t have to go through the cold water treatment.” To promote this type of ripening, Melissa’s has been working to educate retailers on what the process entails and providing in-store signage to help communicate what tree-ripened mangoes are.
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