Mexican organic and conventional mango supplies typically follow a consistent pattern with more than a half dozen regions having solid commercial production throughout the year. Supplies start out in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca and then move northward before finally ending in the Los Mochis area of Northern Sinaloa in late September.
This year, the transition between the southern states and the northern production areas of Guerrero, Michoacan, Jalisco, Nayarit, and Southern Sinaloa has not been as smooth as usual because of delayed production in Nayarit and Sinaloa—and this has created a bit of a gap.
Gary Clevenger, Managing Member, Freska Produce International
“Things are pretty hot right now,” said Gary Clevenger, managing member for Freska Produce International in Oxnard, CA, earlier this week. “It’s going to stay that way for the next couple of weeks. The northern regions are later than usual, and things are finishing up in the south.”
Northern districts typically start shipping the bulk of total supplies by mid- to late May, Clevenger said, but this year it will be the middle of June before promotable supplies return for both organic and conventional mangos.
“Things are pretty hot right now. … It’s going to stay that way for the next couple of weeks.” -Gary Clevenger
Freska is often listed as the #1 US importer of mangos, and Clevenger said the company’s organic program continues to increase every year.
“It’s due to demand,” he said. “A lot of retailers are asking for organics, and growers are increasing supplies.”
Some retailers, such as Costco, have made a very public splash as they transitioned to organics, he said, but even those retailers late to the game are beefing up their organic programs. Making mangos an even more attractive switch from conventional to organics is the price structure.
“There’s typically only a $1 difference [per carton] between conventional and organic,” Clevenger said, noting that the most in-demand sizes and varieties of conventional mangos were in the $8-$10.50 range while their organic counterparts were about $9-$12 this week. The pricing is reflective of the hot market as mango FOB prices will drop significantly as volume increases in June.
“A lot of retailers are asking for organics, and growers are increasing supplies.” -Gary Clevenger
Nissa Pierson, who in charge of sales and marketing for the Crespo Organic label (grown, packed, and shipped by El Grupo Crespo), confirmed that organic mangos are in short supply.
“Oaxaca and Chiapas are about finished, and Nayarit is severely late,” she said.
Nissa Pierson, Sales and Marketing, Crespo Organic
Both round mangos and the Ataulfo variety will be packed in Nayarit beginning at the end of May, but it is still a bit early to know when the big volume will begin. Pierson is certain that by June 15 there will be promotable supplies of organic mangos, but that jump in volume could start a bit earlier.
She explained that El Grupo Crespo packs its late season organic mangos differently in order to get as much quality volume as possible.
Pierson is certain that by June 15 there will be promotable supplies of organic mangos, but that jump in volume could start a bit earlier.
Crespo Organic is one of the larger grower-shippers of organic mangos, and Pierson said they want to make sure every mango delivered to US buyers is top-notch. The company promotes its organic mangos in the United States with an annual “Summer Mango Mania” program. Last year the promotion began June 1, but this year most of its retail customers are joining the effort on June 15.
While Pierson acknowledged that mango supplies are currently light, she did not want that message to dominate the news because “there is a wall of mangos coming behind this little gap. When those mangos need retailers to immediately get [them] into large displays and move the crop, there will be promotable pricing,” she said.
Assessing the overall supply of organic mangos, Pierson said volume is increasing every year as more growers, packers, and US distributors enter the sector. She does note that some are doing a good job, but others are in one week and out the next, which can adversely affect the market. “The way to build a big organic program is with consistent supplies,” she said.
Ronnie Cohen, Vice President of Sales, Vision Import Group
Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales for the Vision Import Group, concurred with the assessments of Clevenger and Pierson.
“There is a wall of mangos coming behind this little gap. When those mangos need retailers to immediately get [them] into large displays and move the crop.” -Nissa Pierson
“We have a gap right now, but by the middle of June supplies will be plentiful. We have to wait and see how the sizes shape up, but there will be promotable supplies,” Cohen said.
Vision is mostly involved on the conventional side of the mango deal, but he said the company does have access to organic mangos, and the volume timing is the same. “They [both conventional and organic mangos] are grown in the same regions and subject to the same conditions. Southern Nayarit is starting right now, but we are still 10-18 days aways from starting in Northern Nayarit.”
Cohen speculated that when mid-June comes around, mango FOB pricing will be in the $4.50 to $5 range for medium-sized conventional fruit while organic cartons will get about $1 more. He believes the FOB on organic fruit will allow retail promotional pricing of around $1.50 per mango with “2 for $5 on the larger sizes.”