Freska Produce International’s Gary Clevenger Discusses Category Exploration and Expanding Regions Before Global Produce & Floral Show

From Fresh Plaza | 12 October 2023

Overview of mangos in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on October 11, 2023.

OXNARD, CA – International Fresh Produce Association’s (IFPA) Global Produce & Floral Show is a time to reveal the innovations of the year, but also to look forward to what is on the horizon. For Freska Produce International, it is a milestone marking two decades of growth, category exploration, and expanding regions for a stronger supply calendar.

“We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this coming year, and it’s been a great time to reflect on what we’ve been able to accomplish for both the mango and avocado categories. We say ‘Think Mango, Think Avocado, Think Freska,’ and it’s been great to realize that statement,” Managing Partner Gary Clevenger shared.

Beginning with mangos before expanding to Mexico-grown avocados in 2013, then California avocados in 2015, the company has grown its portfolio of places and product simultaneously, as well as conscientiously.

“We’ve expanded our grower network from the western U.S. through South America while maintaining strong relationships, showcased by our being Fair Trade-certified,” Gary pointed out. “This has been critical in building our year-round avocado program, and also our mango and dried mango program, which continues to grow 10 to 15 percent year over year.”

Challenging years in terms of weather conditions like the one we are in are a great reminder of the value of versatility in resources and regions, with mango supplies tight throughout October into the start of November.

mango volumes by history 5

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

“Weather conditions have been an obstacle in South America compared to last year. We are bringing in good quality this year, keeping us optimistic about maintaining the flavor that has driven rising mango consumption year over year. Logistics and timing present a challenge, but there is an eagerly waiting market to keep demand strong,” Gary observed.

While Gary said we will likely not see the typical glut of South American mangos into Thanksgiving, the silver lining is this year’s lower volume has driven the category to a higher demand autumn. Meanwhile, Freska continues to do all possible to consistently fill gaps.

“We will stick with the same partners that have kept us strong for 20 years and do what we can to fill the market. The weather will move on and the harvest will shift as it always does. We keep moving forward and are excited for new opportunities ahead,” Gary said.

Be sure to swing by booth #1569 to congratulate the Freska team on the coming platinum anniversary, as well as the celebrations for this momentous approaching year.

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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