Ciruli Bros. LLC continues to push the yellow-skinned Ataulfo variety mango that it markets under its proprietary “Champagne” moniker.
Chris Ciruli, chief operating officer at the Nogales, AZ-based company, said that the Champagne mango makes up the vast majority of sales for the longtime importer, though the firm does sell some red-skinned Kent variety mangos later in the season.
“Yellow mangos are growing at about a 10-15 percent clip per year,” said Mr. Ciruli. “And we expect to continue that growth this year.”
Doing some quick calculations, he said that yellow mangos represented just under 35 percent of the total mango imports from Mexico in 2012. He expects the variety to get a slightly larger share this year.
As a smaller-sized mango, the Ataulfo has gained favor as an item that can be marketed attractively in multiple unit sales, especially to the club stores.
Ciruli Bros. offers a club pack that features four or six mangos in a clamshell. Mr. Ciruli said the pack is also finding buyers from the traditional chainstore category as well.
In fact, he noted that mangos are sold in a variety of ways today, which is much different than when his father, Chuck Ciruli Sr., began importing Mexican mangos more than 20 years ago.
“Back then we had one pack,” he said. “Now we offer five different packs.”
Besides the clamshells, Ciruli also sells the Champagne mango in the standard 10-pound carton as well as a 5.5-pound carton and a display-ready carton for box sales. In addition, the Kent variety is sold in the traditional 10-pound carton.
Mr. Ciruli said that mangos continue to be a great success story as sales are increasing every year fueled by the merchandising efforts of the smaller, ethnic supermarkets and chains.
It is no secret that Hispanics and Asians buy lots of mangos and those stores cater to that. Unfortunately, Mr. Ciruli said that some of the larger traditional supermarket chains still treat mangos as a specialty item. He said the smaller ethnic chains treat the product as a commodity and mass merchandise it.
Asking specifically in which geographic area this reporter shops, Mr. Ciruli said Berkeley Bowl, a well-known two-store independent located in the California city it is named after, does a bang-up job.
“They think outside the box,” he said. “You never see the bigger chains carrying two different sizes of yellow mangos, but they do. They build huge displays and typically carry a larger-size yellow mango as well as a smaller one that is value-priced. They sell a lot of mangos.”