While predictions are challenging, the overwhelming demand for organic mangos from Mexico has producers reporting slightly higher than normal volume as the country enters peak production from key shipping points.
“During this Mexican season demand has appeared to exceed supply and unlike conventional fruit, volumes are more finite, which keeps the markets stable and the focus on basic growth”, said Noe Arias, sales manager for Amazon Produce Network (West Coast Division).
As the Mexican organic mango industry prepares to settle into the most active portion of the season, a focus on fill rates has taken the place of excess and glut talk. Overall organic mango prices are higher, with little variation since the start of the season. According to Arias, “organic mango prices are up on average 50 to 75 cents per case compared to 2017.”
Mango growing in the field.
Current weather patterns have producers and sellers in a tight corner as summertime demand revs up. “Cold nights when it’s supposed to be warm and dry weeks when it’s supposed to be wet have made the season incredibly hard to predict”, said Arias. The Mexican heat wave and dry spell has also impacted other organic commodities, with supply issues hampering production.
Organic mangoes need both heat and water to obtain full maturity, according to Jose Angel Crespo of RCF Distributors & Empaque Don Jorge, Rosario, Sinaloa. “Currently a majority of the fruit from all Mexican producers is on the small size because of the lack of rain. The current aversion to sizing up makes it difficult to forecast and waiting for the fruit to size up has proven unreliable. The mangos simply are not sizing as they typically would” said Crespo.
Jorge Crespo, Empaque Don Jorge, Rosario Sinaloa Mexico
The more delicate Ataulfo varietal mango, which has seen significant growth in the organic marketplace over the last several years, is facing its own set problems due to the excessive heat. While the heat has yielded exceptionally sweet flavored (high brix) fruit for consumers, it also means unpredictable supplies of rapid to ripen fruit for buyers. The Mexican organic Ataulfo season is predicted to end early because of this increased maturation rate, with most industry insiders predicting a maximum of three to four weeks.