Unity Groves Corp. offers its produce, such as this September sampler box, direct to Florida consumers on its tasteofredland.com website launched this summer. ( Courtesy Unity Groves Corp. )

Ciruli Bros. expects volume boost

Nogales, Ariz.-based Amex Distributing/Ciruli Bros. anticipates an increase in volume of mangoes this year for the company, said Chuck Ciruli, partner.

“We’re just seeing more and more demand,” he said. “You’re going to see the Mexico deal end up about 10% up. We’re going to take a heavier stance in Ecuador and Peru because they have great varieties down there.”

The fall season always is a challenge, Ciruli said.

“You can see it as a weakness or a growth opportunity,” he said.

Look for an increase presence of mangoes in the foodservice sector in the fall, Ciruli said.

“The mango industry looks to gain traction through foodservice in that fall quarter, and that means we’re going to have to promote,” he said. “It’s not just a summer item. It’s 52 weeks, and we just have to keep pushing it.”


Freska sees growth in dried mangoes

Oxnard, Calif.-based Freska Produce International LLC recently has “gotten more vertical” with dried mangoes, said Gary Clevenger, managing member and co-founder.

“We have been selling dried mangoes to retailers and look for this segment to get even bigger in the coming years,” he said.


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Mango board surveys millennials

The Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board recently completed “quantitative research” among millennial-aged consumers, said Angela Serna, marketing manager for the board.

“We are excited to see how much they love mangoes in a variety of forms, from whole to fresh-sliced and even juiced,” she said.

“They enjoy mangoes eaten on their own as well as in recipes. This bodes well for the future growth trajectory of mangoes.”

The board also has “increased its focus” on ripening, which it believes “will help improve the flavor experience for our consumers,” Serna said.


Thomas Fresh to launch 'Think Pink' onion

Thomas Fresh, a distributor based in Calgary, Alberta, has had a big year, said Andrea Dubak, marketing specialist.

“We have experienced a new level of expansion and developed exciting partnerships,” she said.

Earlier this year, Thomas Fresh set a goal of creating a product that would raise funds for breast cancer research — “a cause near and dear to our hearts,” Dubak said.

“We began talks with The Canadian Cancer Society, which led to our upcoming launch of the Thomas Fresh ‘Think Pink’ Breast Cancer Onion this fall.”

Thomas also hired industry veteran Michele McMillan to fill a new role, director of national accounts.

McMillan is looking “to grow Thomas Fresh business across Canada with her immense experience in retail program development,” Dubak said.


Unity Groves Corp. grows Florida limes

Homestead, Fla.-based Unity Groves Corp. launched a new website, www.tasteofredland.com, in early July, said Louie Carricarte, president and owner.

“We broke a thousand (site visitors) last week, so it’s becoming exponential,” he said. “It keeps growing.”

Unity Groves now is offering limes out of Florida, Carricarte said.

“We’re growing Florida limes again,” he said. “We have 60 acres and just finished installing a new packing line for it.”

Harvest is year-round, but it peaks in the summer, Carricarte said.

“It really is a very nice product. The juice content is very high and it tastes great,” he said. “People understand the difference between a Florida lime and imported lime.”

The company is looking to increase volume next year, he said.

“It looks like next year is going to be our real launch,” he said.

Unity Groves will ship limes “all over,” but the focus likely will be Florida.