Ataulfo’s offer up a mega does of #MangoJoy amidst serious season complexities
The onset of the Mexican mango season is anticipated to bring significant complexity and is expected to persist as such for several months. First up, as always Mexico’s yellow slipper, the Ataulfo mango. A beloved consumer favorite and one of the fastest growing mango varietals in the US market.
As Ataulfo mangoes are picked and packed and transported up Mexico and across the border to retailers nationwide, they navigate through the challenges of a turbulent Peruvian season. Unfortunately, the Peruvian season, impacted severely by merciless El Niño weather during blooming stages, has not yielded any sufficient volume, leaving large empty pipelines throughout the global mango industry. Traditionally, the US market during this period is flooded with lower-priced Peruvian fruit, but the current scenario sees Peruvian growers struggling with volumes and unable to meet even a portion of the worldwide demand, leading to chaos with farmers searching for the highest bidder in markets across Europe, Asia, and the USA.
The challenging Peruvian situation in the US market puts immense pressure on the commencement of the Mexican season. Retailers find themselves not only attempting to bridge the gap but also facing total panic for the upcoming months when mangoes are typically the most promotable fruit. Contracts are in disarray, and a veil of silence shrouds the realities south of the border, contributing to unprecedented market confusion.
Mexico faces it’s own climate-related setbacks to the start of its season, grappling with severe wind damage impacting blooms and seting fruit. The resulting orchard specific gaps, while not uncommon, will feel much more intensified by Peru’s limitations, impacting the feel of overall Mexican supplies throughout February and March. Predictions suggest likely volume stabilization by the end of March, but the deficiency will have a pronounced effect on the market, adding extra pressure to the industry and most importantly pricing.
Despite the challenges and pressure, we are moving forward with a positive outlook. Organic mango certifications are currently done or in progress at Magmar, Bola de Oro, and Empaque Don Jorge II. The initial Ataulfos have been harvested and packed, ready to make their way to the US border for retail, wholesale, and processor distribution. Over all Ataulfo volume is good, generally speaking. Initial sizing is expected to be smaller, following the norm, and is anticipated to level off with sizes ranging from 12 to 20 counts with promotions available on 22cnts for the adventurous. Market prices are expected to be on the higher side due to the volatility in conventional markets and the overall scarcity of organic Peruvian fruit. Contract pricing for February is deemed impossible, and a similar outlook is anticipated for March, with any existing contract prices priced significantly high. Although promotable volumes will be available, the extreme shortage has created confusion, and the market dynamics appear different. April is viewed optimistically for lower-priced promotions, but few are currently offering deals even for that timeframe. Tommy Atkins mangoes will start in early February in the same pressurized system, maybe even more so. Sizing expectations are 8, 9 and10cnts. Volumes will be limited and prices high.
In the current landscape, program business holds greater significance for growers, and we express gratitude for the enduring direct-trade selling systems we’ve upheld over the years. These mutually beneficial partnerships are better equipped to navigate the upcoming uncertainties. These partnerships are made to withstand complexities and the consumers benefit by having access to high quality organic mangoes that lead to more #MangoJoy in their lives. More volume will indeed come, promotions and priced right mangoes will be a thing of our season, but for two months we must work together and avoid too much frenzy and chaos.
Despite the challenging start, we remain committed to promoting mangoes, especially our Crespo Organic Ataulfo mangoes. While prices may not be low, we understand that mango consumers value quality and an exceptional mango eating or using experience. Our focus in these initial months is on delighting consumers with high does of #MangoJoy in every possible aspect beyond just price. Our Ataulfo Marketing 101 offers our customers a robust toolset to do just that.
Furthermore we cannot stress enough the importance of proper transport, handling and storage for any Ataulfo mango program and recommend reading our It Takes a Village: Proper Handling Practices for Ataulfo Mangoes in order to brush up on the many details it takes to succeed with a successful Ataulfo mango program. The article articulates what it takes straight from the voices of the ones that do it best!
My last words of advice are simple: keep large inventories, be flexible with size, pat attention to transport, storage and handling and place extra emphasis on what you can control and offer up plenty of commodity and culinary education- in store and virtually!
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