(UPDATED COVERAGE, Dec. 18) A large new crop of Peruvian mangoes, combined with continuing supplies from Ecuador, promise big volumes heading into the new year, importers said.
“There will be heavy, heavy volumes in January, especially in early January,” said Greg Golden, a partner in Mullica Hill, N.J.-based Amazon Produce Network. “We’re working really hard to get promotions in place to blow through all this volume.”
The week of Dec. 17, Peru’s mango crop was ramping up to its peak, Golden said. Much of that was due to warm weather. Another factor, he said, was a short crop last season.
“The trees are ready to produce,” he said.
In mid-December Ecuador was past its peak, Golden said, but weekly volumes were declining slowly.
The heavy volumes could create a dual market, Golden said, with hard fruit fetching higher prices and preconditioned fruit lower prices.
“We’re likely to see a lot of preconditioned fruit in the market, and it will have to move with great speed,” he said.
On Dec. 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $8 for one-layer flats of tommy atkinses 7-8 from Ecuador, up from $6.50-7 last year at the same time.
Prices will likely come down 50 cents to $1 per box once the big Peruvian volumes start hitting, said Sabine Henry, saleswoman for Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Central American Produce.
“We’ll see a drop, but it won’t go too low,” she said.
Ecuador had shipped about 6.2 million boxes through early December, up from 6 million boxes last year at the same time, and Peru’s season was starting earlier than normal, said William Watson, executive director of the Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board.
“The Ecuadorian season continues going strong, and our sources say it will be a strong season for (Peru) as well,” Watson said.
Quality was very good on Ecuadoran fruit, but sizing was small, Henry said. It was, however, improving some as late-season kents started to make up a greater percentage of total volumes. Early Peruvian fruit also was on the small side, Golden said.
Large fruit was fetching a premium in mid-December, with prices in the $8-8.50 range, Henry said.
Central American Produce expected to wrap up its Ecuadoran deal in the first or second week of January, Henry said. Peru will carry the deal through January until supplies from Nicaragua begin arriving in February.
Amazon’s early Peruvian volumes will tilt toward kents and ataulfos, but the company also will be receiving tommy atkins and haden varieties, Golden said.