Colombian Sugar Mangos enter second year of shipping to U.S.

From Fresh Plaza | 6 March 2024

Overview of mangos from Colombia in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on March 6, 2024.

Apples, grapes and now mangos? Nick Bernal believes that mangos are one of the next fruits to see the development of specialty or club varieties available on shelves.

“Consumers are saying they want something new. In the past five to 10 years, people have gotten used to mangos and they are now asking what else is there to bring more variety and flavor to the category,” says Bernal, CEO of Seasons Farm Fresh, a company that has been developing the category by introducing specialty mangos to the U.S. market from more than nine countries across the globe.

mango volumes by history 3

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

With that in mind, this will be the second season that Seasons Farm Fresh is importing the Colombian Sugar Mango –a piece of fruit that’s 100-150 grams and is a little bit bigger than an egg and is also extra-sweet with Brix levels reaching the 20s. The first time Colombian mangos entered the U.S. was after obtaining access from USDA-APHIS at the end of December 2022.

“The big difference between the Sugar Mango and the other mangos in Colombia is that these are grown on very small family farms. There aren’t many large-scale farms, so most farms are two to five hectares, if that,” Bernal says, noting these farms are scattered along the Caribbean coast of Colombia.

The year for mangos

The fruit is coming into the U.S. in a unique year for mangos overall. “Globally in all the mango-producing countries, it’s been an El Nino year and some places have a lot of water while some places have a little water. The supply this year out of Ecuador, Peru and Brazil for example was very light,” says Bernal. “I’ve been doing this for 13 years and this year is one of the highest-priced markets we’ve seen.”

El Nino is also why the season of sugar mangos is starting later this year. The season normally starts in early March and this year it will begin in early to mid-April. “All the trees flowered a little bit later. There will be good volumes, but not as good volumes as last year. We have our farmers committed so there will be enough fruit to fulfill the programs we have in place,” says Bernal. While the end of the season will depend largely on the weather conditions, he is optimistic for a 10-12 week season that will go until the end of June.

Meanwhile pricing on mangos this year has generally been high and will likely soften as the Mexican crop comes in and stabilizes supply. However, Bernal believes the tree-ripened and air-flown Sugar Mango pricing will be more affordable than last year, though that’s ultimately dependent on the volume shipped. “As the volume comes on, we’re hoping that will help bring down the logistical costs,” he says. “It can be hard for people to grasp that in the middle of the Mexican mango season where a 4-kilo box will sell for $3-$5, our box is significantly higher,” he says.

He also notes that the fruit is highly coveted in Colombia (where it is eaten with the skin on)–so much so that growers are working with the Colombian government to brand the mango with a denomination of origin similar to champagne or Vidalia onions.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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