Mangoes are going the way of the apple: Multiple varieties are appearing on store shelves side-by-side as consumers come to realize that mangoes don’t have to be red.
When asked why his customers were interested in carrying more than one mango, Eddie Caram, general manager of New Limeco LLC, Princeton, Fla., answered simply, “Because it is profitable for them.”
Caram is starting to import Haitian Francine mangoes this year because a customer base and a grower are eager to work with the company.
He said many ethnic groups are fond of the variety.
Luis Diaz, salesman for Diazteca Co., Nogales, Ariz., said ataulfos are growing in interest thanks in part to consistent year-after-year volumes from Mexico.
“The big club houses, Sam’s and Costco and Wal-Mart, every day they are bringing more ataulfos which is a very good variety,” Diaz said of the variety that ripens when it is yellow and soft to the touch.
“People are starting to eat that variety and that is great because every day they are bring more and more varieties.”
Diaz credits the work of the Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board with teaching more consumers to distinguish varieties through colors and shapes.
“They are teaching people how to select a good mango and explaining the different varieties,” he said, adding that the board is also helping consumers realize that they can cook with mangoes for a tropical flavor.
“It’s one of those fruits that if the consumer gets to experience the right mango, they’ll be hooked,” said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for Southern Specialties Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla.
Eagle added that mangoes are a sensational fruit that offers flavor, color and nutritional benefits.
“It’s up to us as growers and marketers to work hard to let people know what the differences are,” he added.
Chris Ciruli, partner in Ciruli Bros. LLC, Nogales, Ariz., is supplying Mexican champagne mangoes to the East and West coasts this season.
“The more you do to promote, the more you do to sample, definitely helps,” he said. “Markets have been a little higher this year than last year. We’ll see if that trend will continue.” Schnebly is optimistic enough about the demand for new mango varieties that he is planting Asian mallika mangoes on several acres in South Florida.