Organic growth small; marketers keep watch

04/09/2013 02:45:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Organic mangoes aren’t a large portion of the market, but there’s enough interest for some suppliers to consider it.

“We are watching the category, and it’s growing every year, but it’s still not a large enough market to get into it yet,” said Wade Shiba, managing partner of GM Produce Sales LLC, Hidalgo, Texas.

Greg Golden, a partner and sales manager at Amazon Produce Network, Mullica Hill, N.J., agrees.

“The market does seem to be growing for organic mangoes,” he said.

Still, the segment is a very small percentage of the category.

“According to Nielsen-Perishables Group data, organic mangoes made up just 1.6% of total mango dollars nationwide in 2012,” said Wendy McManus, retail program manager for the Orlando-based National Mango Board.

They do bring a higher price, however, with organic mangoes selling for an average of $2.05 each, while conventional average around $1.15, McManus said.

Some say that the environment has a lot of affect on the availability of organic mangoes.

“Organic mangoes cannot be grown very effectively in regions of high humidity due to the crop loss from pests and fungus normally combated with fungicide and pesticide,” Golden said.

“Luckily there are regions of Peru and Mexico that are excellent for growing organic mangoes without these problems, so we expect to continue to see strong supplies during those times of year,” he said.

Michael Warren, president of Central American Produce Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., agrees location is key.

“The whole secret to growing organic mangoes is the environment,” he said.

Isabel Freeland, vice president of San Diego-based Coast Citrus Distributors Inc., said the cost of certification is a limiting factor for companies.

“Mangoes from many areas are almost organic. Not too much is applied to those trees, especially in Mexico. Certification and cost of certification is a significant issue,” she said.



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