Large mangoes scarce as Peruvian deal nears

11/21/2013 04:25:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Courtesy Vision Produce Co.Ronnie Cohen (left), vice president of sales for Vision Import Group, River Edge, N.J., and Bill Vogel, president of Los Angeles-based Vision Produce Co., visited Peru recently to inspect mangoes.Mango importers will have to hustle through the end of the year to find large-sized fruit.

Peruvian mango volumes will likely be lighter and get a later start than first anticipated, said Bill Vogel, president of Los Angeles-based Vision Produce Co.

“We had been under the impression that the fruit was to come a little earlier this year, with large volume and smaller size of fruit,” Vogel said.

“But we learned that due to the unseasonable cool weather they’ve been having, fruit drop during bloom, and continued fruit drop during the maturation process on the tree, that view changes significantly.”

Now, Vogel said, Vision Produce expects a normal starting time with just average volume. What hasn’t changed, he said, is that size is still expected to be on the small side, with fruit peaking on 10s and 12s instead of 8s and 9s.

“We expect sizable volume on 12-size mangoes for arrivals the end of December continuing through January,” he said.

“I suspect this will be priced attractively for retail promotions.”

Customers leaning toward 7s and 8s will continue to pay a high price through the duration of the season, he said.

On Nov. 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $5.50-7 for one-layer flats of tommy atkins 7-9s from Ecuador, down from $8-8.50 last year at the same time.

Tommy 12s were $3.50-4, down from $7 last year.

The week of Nov. 18, Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Central American Produce was wrapping up its Brazilian mango deal and focusing on its Ecuadoran deal, which began in the second half of October, said Sabine Henry, saleswoman.

Central American expects to receive Ecuadoran fruit into early January, Henry said. It will be supplemented by Peruvian mangoes, which should begin arriving the second or third week of December.

“We’ve seen excellent demand for large mangoes,” Henry said. “There’s an excess of 12s and 14s, and very few large. Nines and larger remain very strong. For 12s and smaller, demand is slow.”

That could change in early December, however, when Ecuador is expected to begin shipping larger kents, Henry said.

Small fruit size could wind up lowering volume estimates for the Peruvian deal, said William Watson, executive director of the Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board.

As of Nov. 18, Brazil had shipped 5.7 million boxes of mangoes to the U.S., Watson said, up from 5.4 million boxes last season.

Ecuador, which was reaching its season’s peak in mid-November, should ship through mid-January, Watson said. As of Nov. 18, 2.5 million boxes had shipped from Ecuador to the U.S. year-to-date, up from 1.2 million boxes last season.

In mid-November Vision Produce reported prices of $8-8.50 for size 8 tommy atkins fruit from Ecuador. Size 10s were $5.75-6.50, depending on condition, Vogel said, and 12s $4.50-5.50.

That range of prices should continue into early December, he said.

“As (Ecuadoran shipments) wind down in December, we expect Peru to add enough volume to keep the deal consistent. Most of the Peruvians will be shipping to the U.S. by the first week of December.”



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