With the Mexican organic mango season all but finished, it appears the category will be facing a supply shortage throughout the next few months.
Nissa Pierson, who handles the promotional campaign for the Crespo Organic brand, which is grown in Mexico by El Grupo Crespo and packed at the country’s largest mango packing facility, confirmed that the organic mango season in Mexico is officially closed at the orchard level. She also noted that the forecasts for Ecuadorian and Peruvian mango production volumes—both organic and conventional—are extremely grim. “In fact, they are expected to be significantly worse than just bad—reaching catastrophic levels in the case of organic mangoes,” she said.
Nissa Pierson, Crespo Organic
South America has been hit with the El Niño weather effect this year, which has left many fresh crops with far fewer supplies than usual. Pierson reported that multiple sources, who asked not to be identified, have indicated that Peruvian mango production could be as much as 80 percent below the usual levels.
Extreme heat in the mango-producing region of Piura in late spring apparently resulted in a lack of flowering and a poor set, which means very little fruit from that region for November and December. Growers did attempt to remedy the situation on the conventional crop with chemicals, but that aid could not be utilized for organic mangoes.
“[Ecuadorian and Peruvian mango production volumes] are expected to be significantly worse than just bad—reaching catastrophic levels in the case of organic mangoes.” - Nissa Pierson
On Friday, Sept. 15, Pierson reported that growers in Peru are still predicting a big decline in production. “Whether it’s 80 percent, 60 percent, or 50 percent, the consensus among the growers I spoke to was that the decline is undeniably significant,” she said.
Gary Clevenger, Freska Produce International
Gary Clevenger of Freska Produce International in Oxnard, California, reported the same information from his grower contacts in South America. “We have heard that Ecuador and Peru will only have 30-50 percent of last year’s total, and the volume is late,” he said. “We should be shipping mangoes from there next week [Sept. 25], but that’s not going to happen.”
Clevenger said the market on both conventional and organic mangoes has been strengthening as the Mexico production winds down and supplies from South America are less than expected. “The conventional market has been ranging from $7.50–$8 per carton, depending on size, with organic mangoes getting $1 or $1.50 more per box,” he said.
Freska typically sources organic mangoes from those South American countries in the October–December time frame, but Clevenger is anticipating much less volume this year. He expects the market for both conventional and organic mangoes to rise over that period, with a greater gap than usual between the two categories. And he doesn’t expect mango supplies of either category to get back to normal volume until late January or February when Mexico’s 2024 volume starts to hit its stride.
“We have heard that Ecuador and Peru will only have 30-50 percent of last year’s total, and the volume is late. We should be shipping mangoes from there next week [Sept. 25], but that’s not going to happen.” - Gary Clevenger
Melissa’s Produce in Los Angeles is another distributor of organic mangoes on a year-round basis, with Green Keitts from California in September and October and an assortment of varieties throughout the year from multiple points of origin, including Mexico and South America. Director of Public Relations Robert Schueller confirmed that mango supplies this fall are expected to be short on both the conventional and organic fruit—but much more limited on the organic side.
Robert Schueller, Director of Public Relations, Melissa's Produce
“Due to weather, the mangoes in various South American growing regions are not sizing up … both conventional and organic,” he said, adding that Melissa’s is securing more mangoes from Australia to help fill the expected demand this fall and winter. Schueller said the Australian season will run from late December to March, but it will not include any organic mangoes.