Mango board: Guatemala benefits from promotions - The Packer

Mango board: Guatemala benefits from promotions

03/25/2011 09:09:55 AM
Chris Koger

Chris Koger

Estuardo Castro, president of the Agritrade organizing committee, welcomes members of the mango industry from Guatemala and other countries to a National Mango Board information meeting March 17.

ANTIGUA, Guatemala — Although Guatemala’s share of the mangoes shipped in the U.S. is but a fraction of the overall amount — about 30 million pounds of the 721 million pounds last season — there’s little doubt the country has seen the benefits of mango promotions in the U.S.

Since the National Mango Board started collecting a half cent for every pound handled in the U.S. in 2005, Guatemala’s production value has risen from $259 million to $371 million, according to William Watson, executive director of the board, Orlando, Fla.

Watson and other mango board staff were joined by board representatives from the U.S., Mexico and Central America March 17 at an outreach meeting during the Agritrade Expo and Conference.

“We understand from where you’re sitting is not how the mango industry is doing but how is the Guatemalan industry doing,” he said. “That’s why it’s important to drill down and look at the crop country by country.”

The board’s 2011 budget of $4.2 million funds research into health and nutrition, retail and foodservice promotions, and thousands of demos at grocery stores and other venues. The board sponsored nearly 4,000 demos in 2010, said Wendy McManus, marketing director.

Chris Koger

The National Mango Board successfully spreads the message of health and nutrition, flavor and versatility of mangoes through magazines and other media.

“Retailers are in a very powerful position to support the mango industry and also share in our success, McManus said.

Just 0.3% of all produce department sales are from mangoes, she said.

“What this means is that we have a huge growth opportunity in the U.S., but it also means we have a real challenge to get retailers to pay attention to your product,” McManus said.

The half-cent assessment kicked in for all imported and domestic mangoes in early 2005, long before the staff was hired or promotion and research programs began. Watson, who joined the group in mid-2005, said those assessments have added about a million dollars to the board’s budget each year, but the money runs out this year.

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