Integradora de Frutas Finas Soconusco is a Mexican producer and exporter of mangoes of the varieties Tommy Atkins, Haden, Kent, Keitt and Ataulfo. Its exports are mainly shipped to the US and Canada and it also ships small volumes of Ataulfo, Kent and Haden to Europe. Amberto Bautista Blanca, General Director of the company, explains that, "the variety we ship depends on the demands from the markets, although we promote the Ataulfo, which are our specialty."
The Ataulfo is characterised by its low fibre content. It has plenty of pulp, as the kernel is flatter, and has a very sweet flavour. The National Mango Board has carried out analyses which determined that it is the variety with the highest vitamin A content. It is not a well-known mango, but which always satisfies those who discover it.
In order to meet the United States' protocols, the fruit is treated with hot water at around 45°C, after which, with the goal of preventing the loss of its properties, the temperature is quickly reduced through hydro-coolers. The company was a pioneer in the use of this treatment and also puts plenty of care to let the fruit mature and reach the right level of sweetness; all of this results in a mango able to compete in the most demanding markets.
In Canada, Ataulfo mangoes have gained a lot of popularity and their consumption per capita is, according to Amberto, even higher than in the United States. It is a country that generally consumes more fruit and vegetables and is demanding in terms of quality and flavour. "That has really helped us, because the work we do allows us to export a mango that matures well, is sweet and has a good appearance," affirms Amberto.
This year, the firm is exporting almost 1,800,000 4 kilo boxes, from which around 70% correspond to the Ataulfo variety. The company's plantations and those of its associated producers are located in various areas of Mexico: Chiapas (600 hectares), Oaxaca (350 hectares), Michoacán (250), Nayarit (800) and Sinaloa, which packing plants in each of these locations. It has the GlobalGAP certification in Chiapas and Nayarit and is working to obtain it at the rest.
For Soconusco, the peak of the season takes place from February, when the best prices are usually obtained, to April or May, when competition from other producers comes into play. Amberto explains that this year, during the months of June, July and August, there was some production which did not reach satisfactory prices, but the overall season has been good. Mexico as a whole exported 58 million boxes last year to the United States, and this year, with 15 days still to go, already 60 million have been shipped. From this, more than one-fourth corresponded to the Ataulfo and the rest to red varieties.
According to Amberto, the National Mango Board has carried out great promotional work to boost mango consumption in the United States, which has allowed Mexico to export much larger volumes. The Latin American economies are also growing and this will lead to even greater opportunities to continue expanding.