Tropicals are not a tough sell in the summer, said Mary Ostlund, marketing director at Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals Inc.
“Tropicals are natural for summertime meals. Tropicals turn salads, side dishes and every deserts into treats,” she said.
Mangoes feel the heat of competition from other summer fruits, but they have weathered challenges, said Gary Clevenger, managing member and co-founder of Oxnard, Calif.-based Freska Produce International LLC.
“Mangoes have become a main item with most retailers — some more visible than others but nonetheless an item that is purchased weekly,” he said.
Papayas still are trying to fight their way out of the niche category, but they’re making progress, said Michael Warren, chief executive officer of Pompano Beach-based Central American Produce.
“It’s catching on, and we see some increased demands in the future,” he said.
Many tropical fruits, though available year round, hit their flavor peaks in the summer, said Tristan Simpson, marketing and corporate communications director at Ready Pac Foods Inc., Irwindale, Calif.
“During the summer, many imported fruits move to domestic distributors due to more favorable growing conditions,” she said.
Fruits become riper and more affordable through this process, so the category takes a substantial upswing during summer months, Simpson said.
“Because of the summertime seasonality, the challenge for fruit manufacturers is in creating applicable meal occasions while using seasonally fitting varieties during colder months,” she said.