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Cultivating #MangoJoy for Profit

September 19, 2023

The ROI of Crespo’s Summer Mango Mania promotion

 I know I live in a world that doesn’t register ROI in happiness, let alone recognize the monetary value of #MangoJoy.  I am, however, acutely aware that #MangoJoy has value and that when we work together to cultivate it, building comprehensive mango programs that encircle it,  everyone (including farmers and farming communities) reap more substantial and sustainable profits, a rather difficult thing to achieve within any organic produce commodity; regardless of if you are a retailer, wholesaler or a grower/packer/shipper like El Grupo Crespo. Our summer mango promotion was designed to do just that.  And yes, I’ve got empirical data, retailer, wholesaler and processor testimonials along with loads of intuitive data to prove that our Summer Mango Mania promotion works, delivering profits to retailers, excitement to shoppers and sustainability for our growing program.

“When we see Crespo Mango Mania hit the stores, we can taste that Summer has arrived….” – Alberts Organics/UNFI – Denver.

This is a bold statement considering that peaches, plums, berries, cherries, apricots, and nectarines (my personal favorite) have always been the showpieces for summer produce displays. They typically receive ample display space, attract significant consumer attention, and generate substantial sales revenue for retailers. If you ask Crespo Organic customers, mangoes are now officially a staple in this sweet mix, and our summer promotion celebrates this sweetness as mangoes (and organics) continue to gain more sales revenue share in the summer mix, prompting retailers to allocate more space for them year after year.

Crespo Organic Summer Mango Mania #MuchosMangoes generally runs from the beginning of June through July 31st, and often well beyond, into the end of August. At its most basic, Summer Mango is the collision point between peak El Grupo Crespo’s production in Nayarit and the constant large swell of southern Sinaloa production that follows. It’s the main volume peak of Mexican mangoes, when orchards are most copious, it lasts for about 2 ½ months giving nothing but #MuchosMangoes. Our peak mango volume becomes this promotion and it is strategically placed in and precisely aligned with the heightened seasonal and natural demand for mangoes aka SUMMERTIME

The ultimate goal of Summer Mango Mania is to create a mutually beneficial outcome for all participants invested in the commodity of organic mangoes and more specifically Crespo Organic mangoes.

The Crespo’s benefit from the stability of efficiently distributing increased volumes with stable pricing through direct trade partnerships with retailers, wholesalers, and processors.  As Jose Angel Crespo puts it, “That summertime window, that has always been a difficult one for northern Mexican mango growers in terms of volume placement, seems to now be working. We get to grow in mango volume and have reliable outlets for production.”

Retailers benefit from a steady supply of high-quality Mexican organic mangoes at fixed prices, enabling them to offer summertime Every Day Low Prices (EDLP) to shoppers. The promotion encourages prominent displays of #MuchosMangoes designed to spark #MangoJoy among consumers and boost mango sales during the peak summer season. These displays range from single cases to 10 pallets, strategically placed throughout the store to attract foot traffic. Our promotion, especially when paired with our educational resources, boosts sales and complements other grocery items. A Crespo Organic mango becomes both a daily essential (EDLP) and an exciting indulgence (#MangoJoy). The promotions success aligns with  Americans recognizing what the rest of the world already knows in terms of mangoes as shoppers get access to quality mangoes at decent prices.

But our mango expertise goes beyond pricing; it cultivates a #MangoJoy culture that drives profits by the benefits it brings to all, bringing profit to retailers and mango joy to consumers, while moving a substantial fruit volume at a favorable price for the Crespo family.

Data analysis from 2016 (the direct brand and promotion’s inception) to date shows significant growth for all summer mango sales, sales increases ranging from 17% to 32% across all customers, varietal and packaging. The numbers are even more impressive for our coveted Ataulfo mango program with an average increase of about 28% among all customers carrying any Ataulfo SKU.  Our organic Ataulfo mango program is one of our biggest success stories, delivering an obscene amount of  #MangoJoy (intuitive data) to all markets, even in rural Georgia you’ll find our Organic  Ataulfo mangoes on sale at Ingles Markets throughout the summer. I would say that education, and more importantly good old fashioned effort,  coupled with the quality on the growing side (made possible by reliable sales) made this Ataulfo demand happen.

From our standpoint, this promotion has not only consistently bolstered summer demand but contributed to pricing stability over the years. This stability is instrumental in upholding efficient farming, packing, and shipping systems, while also enabling us to plan for the future with confidence. Such stability is paramount for the progress any farming system. Our program underscores the vital role of stability within our industry, reinforcing El Grupo’s commitment to sustainable farming communities in Mexico—a vision originally championed by RCF himself. This is particularly crucial this year, given the prevailing challenges such as inflation, currency exchange rates, and the impacts of climate change. To meet retailers’ demands for quality and consistency, the partnerships we have forged through this significant promotion have become the cornerstone of our success, to this promotions success.

“Collaborating with the Crespo’s has been nothing short of an exceptional partnership. I can consistently count on Crespo to deliver not only high-quality, consistent fruit but also top-notch service. Our involvement in the organic mango sector has witnessed remarkable growth each year with them, and we anticipate continued expansion with them in the years ahead,” said Matt Klare, Category Manager at Horton Fruit Company.

Two of the most important case studies we have in terms of  Summer Mango Manias success (all seven years of sales data,  constant growth, increased participation and #MangoJoy potency) is seen in our exclusive regional mango programs with Four Seasons Produce on the east coast and Earls Organic Produce on the west coast.  Both companies have been involved since the onset and in a way, were the main drivers in how we built and evolved this summer promotion.  Since the beginning both of these companies embraced the entire offering of Summer Mango Mania, the astounding prices and quality #MuchosMangoes and well as the  rich educational content and robust toolset that encircles it. Both companies utilized, and helped expand the spectrum of creative educational resources and live events designed to stimulate and entice purchases at the store level, as well as educate and arouse consumers digitally (including Zoom) on all thing’s mango! Both created  exciting seasonal Mango Display Contests, that thrive today.

It would be imprudent not to emphasize the substantial impact of our summer mango mania program, not only in the context of produce in general, as mentioned earlier, but also in cultivating organic produce initiatives. Our program simplifies the transition for conventional retailers to offer organic mangoes, thereby expanding their organic product offerings at everyday low prices (EDLP). For shoppers who may not have previous experience with organic produce, it helps dispel the baseless misinformation that organic produce is of lower quality or severely more expensive compared to conventional options. Our partnership with Earls serves as a robust illustration of this transformative effect. Earls exclusively sells organic produce, and our mango program seamlessly aligns with some of their conversion initiatives happening inside the Bay Area.

“Partnering with Earl’s Organics has opened our eyes to opportunities in the organic space.  Crespo Summer Mango Mania was a huge success for all three of our locations. We really leaned into and embraced the mania that Crespo brought to the table. The display contest energized our crew, and we built some pretty awesome displays. We featured Tommy Atkins mangoes on ad several weeks over the summer, with attractive price points. We saw consistent sales all summer long. It became evident that our customers are mango fans! We dabbled with the Crespo Nam Doc Mai and Mallika specialty mangoes. Once we sampled those varieties, we knew our customers would buy them. Given that summer produce ads and promotions typically revolve around soft fruit and melons, having Crespo Organic mangoes as an excellent alternative truly sets our stores apart from the competition,” shared Daniel Bombardieri, Produce Director at California Fresh Market / El Rancho Marketplace.

One of the earliest supporters of the mania was New Leaf Community Markets. Through our collaboration with New Leaf, we experimented with numerous innovative ideas and, in the process, developed effective methods for educating retailers about the Crespo’s, mango production, Mexican organics and mangoes in general. Maroka Kawamura, Produce Floral & Category Manager at New Leaf Community Markets, embraced my unconventional ideas from the start. When asked for a testimonial, she humorously remarked, “Ha! I love the weird ideas.” From the beginning, Maroka recognized the potential of mangoes in the US market, and for the summertime, acknowledging that globally, people had already embraced this versatile and delicious fruit with significant health benefits. “Over the years we’ve seen mango become a solid anchor for “tropical” and less exotic/more staple. We still rely on mangoes to bridge that late winter/early spring gap in fruit. We promote heavily at the onset of the season, but we are seeing over the years the growing trend of consumers purchasing mangoes throughout the summer, especially because Mexican fruit is at its peak in flavor in summer. To me this shift reflects consumers’ increasing familiarity with mangoes, further evident as major big box retailers dipping into cases and clamshells of mangoes.”

Our general program services a great number of smaller retailers and co-ops who typically many of which exclusively offer organic fruit, and many who carried only small, sporadic displays of mangoes in the summertime in the past. It’s been remarkable to witness the continuous growth these smaller retailer have experienced over the years.  Testimonials like this one from Mike Leveille, Fresh Category Manager at Common Market Coop in Frederick MD, bring me a lot of #MangoJoy.

“This past Summer Mango Mania went extremely well.  At both stores we increased sales by $3k over same period last year and moved 1,000 more units, and increased movement by 700 units in the month following over last year as well. We moved a total of 5,558 mangoes during the promotion, doubling normal mango movement and quadrupled Ataulfo movement. Simply great results!”

This promotion shouldn’t be pigeonholed only into retail. The significance of our Summer Mango Mania program for the processing sector is big, where we’ve witnessed not only substantial growth but also an unexpected level of loyalty, underscoring the value of consistency. In Jessup, Maryland we see this with Lancaster Foods. Fernando Rodriguez, responsible for organic mango procurement at touches on this sentiment, “We have been procuring Crespo Organic mangoes from RCF Distributors for 7 years now, and to have a reliable supply of high-quality mangoes every week is truly priceless. Using many of these mangoes for processing, the condition of the mangoes upon arrival has significantly boosted our profitability as the category contuse to grow. Nissa’s insights and information have been invaluable for our planning and beneficial to all our customers.”

Since its inception, our program has been designed for continuous evolution. Through the introduction of new mango varietals, packaging SKUs, and educational tools, we have successfully led the industry with our mango expertise and retailers have reaped the sales value. Both small and large customers have reported increased sales due to our innovative additions to the regular mango offerings. Net-Bags, Consumer Cases, specialty mangoes, and Dried Mangoes have all generated sales and excitement upon their seasonal introduction. Our recently launched Mango Bins not only boost sales through expanded in-store placements but also facilitate larger displays.

Our team of culinary professionals that make up the Crespo Organic Kitchen has crafted exceptionally helpful materials that help mango shoppers experience #MangoJoy well past their time spent in the store. This past season our signature educational initiatives at the Point of Sale created substantial buzz data  collected through the QR code scans on POS materials,  mango bins and packaging.  These in-store resources, which are fully supported by our virtual marketing efforts, are designed to comprehensively educate consumers about mangoes and ignite more #MangoJoy and curiosity among shoppers. The significant uptick in scans and web/social traffic shows us this initiative is working. Quite frankly, our mango education is unlike anything else available to consumers. As for me expanding and quoting myself on that sentiment, I’ll defer to the renowned Brian Dey, who is king of merchandising and who likes to shout our praises.

“This season’s mango mania proved to be one of the most exciting ones at retail, in my opinion. Crespo created some dynamite dual-sided bins that allowed retailers to step out and build more substantial displays while remaining mobile with their display spaces. These bins looked amazing on display, featured high-quality graphics, and were exceptionally educational. Bins contribute significantly to stores by enabling larger displays, which ultimately lead to increased sales and case movement. The bins made a substantial contribution to this season’s promotion, and now retailers can conveniently fold them down and store them in their backrooms for reuse next year.” — Brian Dey, Senior Merchandiser and Natural Food Coordinator, Four Seasons Produce.

He furthers, “NOBODY in the industry does better point of sale material. The high graphic posters and more importantly the recipe and instructional cards are great tools for consumers to gain knowledge about how to cut and eat a mango and prepare something as awesome as mango salsa. No stone is left unturned when it comes to education, for both customer and produce staff alike. And, most importantly, fruit quality was also amazing this year which created impulse sales (especially with those who sampled them) and repeat visits with consumers coming back to look for that “awesome mango they bought last time”. All of this is great math for case movement to stores as well as sales and profits for all parties. New (and AMAZING) this year also was the addition of Crespo’s specialty mangoes later in the season as well as the dried lineup. Excellent adds to an already strong mango lineup. (for the record, Nam Docs are my new favorite). Thank you Nissa and thank you to the Crespo’s for providing us with amazing fruit and an extremely incredible partnership with you. We are already looking forward to next year out here in stores!” ( Me too Brian! -np)

Not all promotions embody the all the frills approach, our program and this summer promotion is known for its adaptability, tailored to meet the specific needs of each region and retailer. Our summer promotion with New Seasons Markets in the Pacific Northwest is a prime example of how this approach has helped build and evolve organic mango programs. Through collaboration and listening to retailers, we’ve made significant changes that drive sales.

Initially, when we partnered with New Seasons Markets, our mango sales were relatively low. They carried both conventional and organic mangoes during the Mexican season, with a focus on spring promotions and a well-established “big-name brand conventional #DontCallMeHoney mango.” Despite challenges, we recognized an opportunity in a somewhat stagnant mango industry, consistency and quality was key and thanks to the collaborative spirit of New Seasons Markets’ buyer, Jeff Fairchild we were, together, able to make significant and positive changes to the mango category and the mango needs of  New Seasons.  Today we have a larger program that boasts front and center displays at EDLP’s that covers a wide range of mango varieties all season long. The Ataulfo mango program we do together is one of our largest, what most industry players wouldn’t think is possible and what I consider FIERCE!

Here is Jeff’s testimonial on this past summer season, “with all the great local summer fruit, we traditionally have shied away from mangoes for summer promotion but with the consistent high quality Ataulfo coupled with new varieties, each variety with helpful information, it seemed like the year to try it. We had double digit growth on the category even competing against great eating peaches and nectarines; customers love the syrupy taste of mangoes year around!” Jeff Fairchild, Produce Buyer New Seasons Market, Organically Grown Company.

Looking ahead to Summer Mango Mania 2024, our goals include building on past successes, learning from mistakes, and staying attuned to customer feedback. We will continue to dream up new ideas from orchard to table (Jorge The Crespo Mango Man has got his secret varietal orchards remember.)

The pandemic reshaped in-store events, requiring a more strategic approach but offered a fresh more fine-tuned perspective for live events, which we plan on hosting more of, carefully selected based on customer demand and retailer readiness (Brian Dey and I are planning!)

Specialty mangoes faced challenges in the 2024 season, but we’re adjusting volumes and offering them exclusively to full-season customers who also promote the regular varietals. (Some exceptions apply.) We will also continue to learn how to achieve better quality and more longevity as we gain more experience hot water bathing these mangoes, which isn’t easy and our partnership feedback is essential (all the way down to the consumer).

Addressing size concerns, we acknowledge climate-related challenges, increased volumes on the production side continue to offset some of this and I will personally continue to emphasize flexibility in retailer sizing expectations, as solely seeking specific sizes can lead to unrealistic demands and shortages which most retailers have experienced with mangoes the past several seasons.

We want to continue to grow our business, benefit our community, be industry leaders, and enjoy doing it. Summer Mango Mania is a vital component of our year-round Mexican organic mango program, spanning from late January to mid-September. It’s part of our comprehensive approach to mango expertise, creating strong mango programs from orchard to table.

#MangoJoy isn’t just a sentiment; it’s good for business, and Summer Mango Mania exemplifies this ethos.

Take a look at at some of the #MangoJoy created during our 2023 Crespo Organic Summer Mango Mania #MuchosMangoes

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