Education an ongoing process for mango industry

03/28/2012 09:26:00 AM
Jim Offner

From TV kitchen demonstrations to social media to information available at retail, efforts are ongoing to educate the consuming public about mangoes.

The Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board has developed a presence in social media — bloggers are a particular target of marketing and educational efforts, according to the board’s marketing director Megan McKenna — TV and magazines, but the ultimate goal is to get the word to consumers about a product with which they may be less than familiar.

“There are audiences who are quite sophisticated about mangoes and others that aren’t,” she said.

Mothers are central to those efforts, McKenna said.

“Moms are another important influencer the board works with to get the next generation passionate about mangoes,” McKenna said. “Initiatives will not only utilize existing inroads with moms and kids but will enhance efforts to reach parenting media and influential mom bloggers.”

Shippers say they have their own educational efforts going.

“It’s a never-ending part of the business,” said Jesse Capote, vice president and owner of Miami-based J&C Tropicals.

The board has plenty of information available, but each player in the supply chain has to contribute to the effort, said Greg Golden, a partner with Amazon Produce Network, Mullica Hill, N.J.

“It would really help if we could convince the retailers to put a little more effort into it, because that’s where education has to happen — at the point of sale,” Golden said.

Central to the message is giving consumers new ways to use mangoes, said William Watson, the mango board’s executive director.

“We put some messages there that hopefully will change some trends of people who may be interested in buying mangoes but don’t know how to use them or store them or cut into them,” he said, adding that recipes, usage ideas and cutting instructions are central to the plan.

The process doesn’t stop in media outlets, Watson said.

“We also understand the store can be the gatekeeper of all our communications about mangoes to the consumers, so we want to make sure the retailers really understand mangoes and how consumer-friendly they are.”

The board does that through point-of-sale materials and an array of retail promotions, Watson said.

“We want the consumer to have a positive mango experience by looking either on television or at print media, and when they go to the grocery store, we want them to have the tools they need to make the decision to buy mangoes and buy them more often,” he said.



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