The week of June 18, about 3.5 million boxes of mangoes were expected to ship from Mexico into the U.S., said Chris Ciruli, partner in Nogales, Ariz.-based grower-shipper Ciruli Bros.
About 3.6 million boxes shipped the week before, Ciruli said. This is the first season weekly shipments even cracked the 3-million range.
“It’s peaking right now, and the peak should last into the first week of July,” Ciruli said.
Larry Nienkerk, general manager of Splendid Products, Burlingame, Calif., said it was unusual for Mexican tommy atkinses and kents to be peaking at the same time, as they were in mid-June.
“It looks like it will be a faster deal,” Nienkerk said June 18. “There’s a lot of fruit in the pipeline now. The last two weeks have been the highest of the year by quite a bit.”
As of June 15, about 35 million boxes of Mexican mangoes had been imported, up from 32.4 million last year at the same time, Ciruli said. Season-end volumes will likely be 10-15% above last year’s record volumes.
On June 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $3.75-4.50 for one-layer flats of tommy atkinses 6-9 from Mexico, down from $4.50-4.75 last year at the same time.
Markets were weaker in mid-June because of the heavy volumes, but fruit was moving very briskly, and heavy promotions of small sizes in the runup to 4th of July were expected to help, Ciruli said.
William Watson, executive director of the National Mango Board, Orlando, Fla., agreed.
“They’re flying off shelves,” Watson said June 18. “I’m not sure if we’ve seen this many from Mexico before, and it’s encouraging. A lot of good fruit is finding a home.”
Mexican shippers were doing a good job of shipping fruit that matched U.S. retailer needs, with much of the smaller fruit remaining in Mexico, Watson said.
Just as the mid-June volumes were the highest of the year, prices were the lowest of the year, Nienkerk said. Those conditions will likely prevail until about the second week of July, when markets start to strengthen, he said.
Extreme heat and dry conditions expected in the second week of June should ensure continued high sugars and overall good quality, Ciruli said.
The yellow mango deals were winding down in mid-June, with tommy atkinses accounting for 46% of total volumes and kents 25%, Ciruli said. Those percentages would likely increase in coming weeks.