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Mango market to see tight supplies in March

During the first part of the Mexican mango season, the National Mango Board is estimating a volume increase of about 15 percent.

“The NMB works with the top six importing countries to gather mango shipment information,” said Communications Manager Angela Serna. “At this time, the NMB has published mango projections from Mexico up to week 20. Until week 20, Mexico projects approximately 29.5 million boxes. Up to week 20 in 2016, Mexico shipped approximately 25.8 million boxes.”SML PR 28

She added that the board will continue to gather information and post the rest of the season’s projections as soon as they become available on the Crop Report section of mango.org.

While U.S. importers were not talking about volume in such a specific time frame, several different industry players indicated volume would be fairly close to last season. These importers, of course, were looking at their own reports as opposed to the NMB’s industrywide numbers.

“We expect volume to be close to what it was last year,” said Sergio Palala, general manager of Splendid by Porvenir in San Bruno, CA.

He told The Produce News on Feb. 17 that fruit was just beginning to come in and the quality was very good. He noted that Peru was finishing up its volume by early March and industrywide supplies could be less consistent in March. “There could be a bit of a gap, which should help the market,” he said.

Gary Clevenger, chief operating officer of Freska Produce International in Oxnard, CA, gave a similar report. “They are winding down in Peru and I don’t think Mexico will be going with big volume until April.”

He added that there should be a fairly strong market through March. “We think there could be a tight market in March and April with prices in the $6 to $8 range.”

Speaking on Feb. 21, the Freska executive said the market had been lower, hovering in the $5 range for quite some time.

Still another supplier, James Watson, who is involved in sourcing for Robinson Fresh, echoed those sentiments. While he noted that the Mexico mango season appears to be a “typical season with good, sustainable supply” with none of its own supply gaps, he said the situation in Peru will require the U.S. market to be “much more dependent on Mexico in the month of March” than it usually is. That would tend to confirm the comments of the other two importers that March might see a tight supply situation.

Serna of NMB said U.S. consumption of mangos continues to be very impressive. “Mangos are becoming more mainstream than ever before and visibility continues to grow year after year. Since 2005, mango volume has increased over 75 percent, from 62 million boxes in 2005 to 109 million boxes in 2016. Specifically, weekly store volume has improved from 132 units per store per week in 2005, to 227 units per store per week in 2016.”

She added that per capita consumption has grown 58 percent since 2005 to almost three pounds per person in 2016.

The growth for mangos is a very exciting time for everyone in the mango industry, but she said it has also brought to light issues that still exist and need to be addressed. “The NMB has brought together a task force to address three major areas of concern: 1) palletization; 2) packaging; and 3) fruit conditioning,” Serna said. “The task force will be moving forward to making recommendations for the mango industry such as changing the mango box to a 5 down common footprint.”

She added that all levels of the supply chain, as well as subject matter experts, are included on the task force — mango importers, producers, retailers, researchers, and packaging/box manufacturers.