Fresh-cut mangoes offer options - The Packer

Fresh-cut mangoes offer options

04/04/2014 09:59:00 AM
Melissa Shipman

Value-added mangoes are a growing part of the market, according to suppliers and marketers.

Gina Garven, category insights manager, C.H. Robinson, Eden Prairie, Minn., said options such as sliced or chunked mango have grown more than 60% year over year, despite the fact that most mangoes are sold whole in bulk or packaged options.

This increase translates to more exposure for the category.

“Any opportunity we have to win over more customers is a good thing for the mango industry,” Wade Shiba, managing partner, GM Produce Sales LLC, Hidalgo, Texas.

It also translates into a way to drive sales at retail.

“In 2013, fresh-cut mango sales increased 62% to $47 per store per week nationwide,” said Megan McKenna, director of marketing, National Mango Board, Orlando, Fla.

Others agree.

“Value-added mangoes are a rapidly growing segment. We are definitely finding opportunities to grow the processing arena as consumers become more aware of new uses for mangoes such as smoothies and fruit salads,” said Shannon Barthel, marketing director of Central American Produce Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla.

“We sell to many processors and that has really been one of our favorite market segments because it’s the fastest growing area,” said Greg Golden, partner and sales manager for Mullica Hill, N.J.-based Amazon Produce Network.

Part of this growth can be attributed to the overall category growth mangoes have enjoyed over the past few years, but it’s also a way to open the door for more bulk mango sales.

“Consumers love mangoes, and this is true across all demographics. Retailers should also think of fresh-cut mango as a gateway to whole mango sales. For shoppers that like mangoes, but don’t feel confident about cutting and ripeness, fresh-cut may be their first mango purchase at retail,” McKenna said.

The mango board is tracking sales of mango-only fresh-cut packs, and the growth is strong, she said.

“Mangoes are bringing new energy to fresh-cut fruit displays at retail,” McKenna said.

In addition, mangoes have started appearing more often in mixed fruit trays and bowls.

“In the past, you might have seen mangoes in one tropical fruit mix offering. Now, it’s typical to see mangoes in multiple mixed packs, including the mainstream mixed fruit packs,” McKenna said.

Offering a quality mango in these products is key to success.

“As the fresh-cut fruit processors have learned better how to handle mangoes and deliver a great-tasting, ripe mango to consumers, sales have skyrocketed,” McKenna said.

Golden agrees that using the right mango is important.

“We concentrate on delivering a product that will work for those processors servicing the fresh-cut segment,” he said.

McKenna believes that retailers that currently aren’t fully into the mango market have the greatest room for growth.

“The opportunities are huge, especially for retailers that have not yet embraced mangoes. They simply need to add fresh-cut mangoes and mixed packs with mangoes to their fresh-cut offerings to see these sales increases,” she said.

 

Adding foodservice

“I think we have a lot further to grow if we can get the foodservice more on board,” Golden said. He said the foodservice arena still has a lot of room to grow.

“Most of the product that’s processed is going into little plastic containers sold on retail shelves but if we can get more mango into recipes and have those packs delivered to chefs for use in restaurants, that would be huge,” Golden said.

Others agree that fresh-cut mango options in restaurants would translate to even more growth at the retail level.

McKenna sees foodservice as a gateway to consumers who are unsure about trying a mango from a grocery store.

“Some U.S. consumers have still never had a mango and foodservice gives them an opportunity to try a mango, and we hope, inspire them to buy one at retail,” she said.

In addition, mango recipes in restaurants can help consumers be more creative with how they use mangoes at home.

“Consumers are continuously inspired by what they eat at restaurants. We work with restaurants across the country to add fresh mangoes to their menu to get mangoes in front of consumers as often as possible,” McKenna said.

Barthel agrees that new uses for mangoes in fresh-cut and foodservice applications will help the category.

“We’re seeing a wider use of mangoes in recipes and more ways that consumers can buy mangoes. Processed mangoes and value-added fruit are all a part of that,” she said.



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