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Ripe and ready-to-eat mangos help increase sales

The National Mango Board has partnered with Catalytic Generators to explain how a ripening mango program may work.

Why ripen?
Similar to how ripening has impacted the world of avocados, bananas and other produce items, it has revolutionized the mango industry. The National Mango Board has determined that ripening protocols, sometimes called pre-conditioning, have positively impacted consumer satisfaction and sales for ripened fruit. “We have seen retailers who have converted to the ripening program sustain increases in volume,” said Tammy Wiard, retail marketing manager for the National Mango Board.

University of California-Davis conducted in-store consumer tests on behalf of the National Mango Board indicating that consumer acceptance doubles, increasing from approximately 39 percent for mature/unripe mangos to 87 percent for the same fruit ripe/ready-to- eat fruit¹. Using proper mango ripening protocol and educational and promotional programs may increase consumption, sales and benefit overall consumer health,” said Manuel Michel, executive director of the National Mango Board. “Consumers said they prefer the taste and quality of fruit that has been through ripening programs. They look forward to purchasing from those particular retailers again.”

Previously, retailers focused on the longest shelf-life possible to avoid spoilage or waste, save costs and make the most sales. Yet data proves the expense of an ethylene ripening program to provide consumers with ripe, ready to eat fruit will help increase sales. “We believe the additional time, effort and investment involved in ripening mangos provides the best quality fruit and customer satisfaction,” said Greg Akins, president & CEO of Catalytic Generators.

Photo: National Mango Board. The board reports that ripening protocols or pre-conditioning have positively impacted consumer satisfaction and sales for ripened fruit.

Receiving and quality assessment
One important step in developing a mango ripening program is receiving mangos that were harvested mature. Fruit harvested immature will soften but will not develop a pleasing flavor, and ripening does not help an immature mango reach a satisfactory eating quality. For this reason, understanding mango maturity and ripeness indicators are essential to mango handling and ripening protocols.

At harvest, mangos are high in starches and acids and low in soluble solids/sugars. During ripening, mature mangos undergo several significant changes: with a decrease in firmness, fruit sugars increase while acidity and starch concentrations decrease. Internal flesh color will also go from pale yellow to deep golden yellow. Maturity at harvest and throughout the ripening process can be judged by a combination of factors, including flesh color, firmness, SSC (soluble solids concentration), dry matter and fruit shoulder shape.

The National Mango Board’s research team and partners have developed a five-stage Mango Maturity and Ripeness Guide (MMRG2) for the six most common commercial mango varieties sold in the United States.² The guide provides internal flesh color, corresponding ranges for SSC and firmness for each state. The recommendation is that at least 90 percent of the mangos tested in a shipment should fall in stage two or higher to be accepted.

Mango expectations at receiving

  • Mangos are harvested when mature (firm), but not ripe or ready to eat (soft).
  • A mature mango will ripen normally with increasing percentage of soluble solids concentration (SSC) and decreasing starch and firmness (pounds force) to become flavorful and ready to eat.
  • After receiving, move fruit directly to store between 50°F to 54°F (10°C to 12.2°C) depending on the variety of mango. Do not allow the fruit to sit out on the dock where it may become too cold or too warm. The same rule applies for outgoing fruit.
  • At this point, an assessment can determine if the mangos will benefit from further ripening.

Mango quality should be checked at all stages of the supply chain to ensure the fruit was harvested at the correct maturity and ripen to a ready to eat state that satisfies consumers. Quality Assurance professionals can reference the Mango Postharvest Best Management Practices Manual available in English and Spanish.

Photo: The National Mango Board. Mango quality should be checked at all stages of the supply chain to ensure the fruit was harvested at the correct maturity and ripen to a ready to eat state that satisfies consumers. 

The ripening process
Catalytic Generators’ ethylene generators and Ethy-Gen® II Ripening Concentrate form a system that, when used as directed, produces concentrations for conditioning mangos. Since mangos produce ethylene naturally, this makes the use of this natural ripening hormone safe and effective. A mature mango responds to the externally applied ethylene by producing its own ethylene and ripen normally. Ripening programs benefit from using safe and effective ethylene generators to move mangos toward the ripe and ready to eat stage prior to store-level distribution.

“Before engaging in a ripening program, the intention to ripen and the required maturity level at harvest should be clearly communicated up the supply chain,” says Michel. Key factors in a proper ripening program include temperature management, storage, air flow, humidity, venting and ethylene application.

Ideal ripening conditions

  • The ripening process is a four-day cycle and temperatures depend on the country of origin and time of year. For details, contact NMB partner Dennis Kihlstadius³ at at Produce Technical Services.
  • Relative humidity of 90-95 percent will reduce potential water loss and mango shriveling.
  • During ripening, carbon dioxide levels should always be kept below 1.0 percent by exchanging room air with outside air (commonly called “venting”).
  • Ethylene levels should be kept at 100 parts per million (ppm) for a 24-hour cycle.
  • Ethylene and carbon dioxide levels should be monitored during ripening and vent as needed

Photo: National Mango Board. Signage indicating mangos are “Ready to Eat” will call the attention of customers and educate them about selection, cutting and usage. 

Ripening program implementation
“Stores who have converted to pre-conditioned fruit have special point-of-sale materials to successfully communicate the “ripe and ready” fruit,” stated Wiard. Display temperatures, mango quality (internal and external), size of the displays, items stored with mangos, hazards that could affect mango quality, backroom temperatures, rotation system and staff knowledge are all factors when revising or implementing a ripening program. To help ensure success, produce department managers and associates should receive communication and training about the ripe/ready to eat mango program on an ongoing basis.

Stores should increase the frequency of ordering to help keep shipments fresh. New shipments of conditioned mangos will be softer than what most stores are accustomed to, which means additional care should be taken in handling and building the displays.

Clear signage indicating mangos are “Ready to Eat” will call the attention of customers, educate them about selection, cutting and usage.
1 Nassur Rde C, González-Moscoso S, Crisosto GM, Lima LC, Vilas Boas EV, Crisosto CH. Describing Quality and Sensory Attributes of 3 Mango (Mangifera indica L.) Cultivars at 3 Ripeness Stages Based on Firmness. J Food Sci. 2015 Sep;80(9):S2055-63. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12989. Epub 2015 Aug 7. PMID: 26257310.
2 For hard copies of the MMRG, please contact the National Mango Board.
3 Ripe mango point of sale display materials provided by the NMB can be found here.

For more information:
Jessica Bohlman
National Mango Board
Tel: +1 (407) 629-7318 ext. 111

Greg Akins
Catalytic Generators
Tel: +1 (757) 855-0191

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