Spring and summer — Cinco de Mayo and Fourth of July, in particular — mark peak marketing opportunities for the mango industry, but marketers should think well beyond summer in their programs, said William Watson, executive director of the Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board.
“We really look at consumers trying to buy mangoes all year long because they’re available year-round,” Watson said.
The most volume comes into the market during the late winter to early fall, when Mexico is shipping, so marketers are naturally more aggressive during the summer season, Watson acknowledged.
“Peak consumption is in May and June, when most of the volume comes across, but we’ll also try to convince consumers there’s no reason they can’t enjoy mangoes the rest of the year.”
For example, the board has programs tailored for back-to-school programs, Watson noted.
“There’s a lot of research being done on the nutritional benefits of mangoes and certainly will help along those lines,” he said.
Some of the findings of that research will be released this year, he noted.
Competition with summer fruits is keen, especially when the so-called “homegrown” season kicks in, Watson said.
“It’s a challenge and we feel like if we can educate retailers about the profit opportunities, we feel like it’s a recipe for success,” he said.
Some shippers note the importance of getting the attention early, before rivals with summer fruit hit the market.
“I think the best season to market mangoes is when you just come into the spring, when it’s warming up, before you get into a lot of the summer fruit,” said Richard Campbell, director of tropical fruits with Coral Gables, Fla.-based Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Center, which grows on about 20 acres. “May and early June is a great time to market mangoes.”
Greg Golden, partner in Mullica Hill, N.J.-based Amazon Produce Network, also said getting an early jump on the competition is crucial to mangoes’ marketing success.
“There’s always good demand from the retailers in April for something fresh and colorful,” he said.
That is precisely what retailers seek out, said Ed Odron, owner of Ed Odron Produce Marketing Consulting in Stockton, Calif.
“They want big, colorful displays that grab attention,” Odron said.