Mango marketers say consumers respond to ripe fruit.
But it takes a commitment for retailers to carry them ripe in store and even offer samples.
James Watson, mango commodity manager for Robinson Fresh, Eden Prairie, Minn., said the company works with retail customers individually to provide support and education for them and consumers.
“We find it important to make sure our retail customers have a handle on the trade-offs of stocking fully-ripe mangoes, which have a shorter shelf-life because they are ready to eat, and almost ripe mangoes, which will last a little longer,” he said.
“The in-store selection of a ripe mango by the consumer is critical as it can lead to good eating experiences that can help repeat purchases.”
Chris Ciruli, partner in Ciruli Bros., Rio Rico, Ariz., said there are more promotional opportunities with ripe fruit than not.
“Green and immature fruit simply does not generate volume sales,” he said.
Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, which markets the Melissa’s brand, said his research shows that ripe mango sales increased last March to August over the previous year by 14%.
He said it’s important to teach retailers and consumers that skin color is not an indication of ripeness.
“Some mangoes are yellow, some are green, some are orange, yellow-red and green,” he said.
“Most think that green is unripe and that is not true.”
In-store sampling remains a tried-and-true practice for appealing to unfamiliar consumers.
Valda Coryat, director of marketing of the National Mango Board, Orlando, Fla., said the board works with each retailer’s sampling program.
But all of its research shows sampling works.
“Our research (2017 Attitude and Usage study) show that consumers know and love the taste of mango and they want more,” she said.
As a part of the board’s summer national display contest, it partnered with Tajin seasoning to feature mangoes with “a little bit of spice” in sampling events across the country.
Ciruli said his company has found that sampling provides a great return on investment during peak supplies.
“Allowing consumers to taste sweet, ripe fruit in store helps retailers continue to bring in new customers,” he said.