Mexican mango volume expected to pick up

From The Packer | 9 March 2023

Overview of mangos from Mexico in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on March 9, 2023. 

Mexican mango season got off to a slow start this year because of weather issues, but supplies should pick up as the season progresses, importers say.

Import volume of mangoes has increased from 62 million to 139 million 4-kilo boxes — or 124% — from 2005 to 2022, largely due to the supply of Mexican mangoes, said Vlad Mitton, data and research senior manager for the Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board.

The supply of mangoes to the U.S. from the main exporting countries of Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador for 2020-22 has been on average 135 million boxes.

mango volumes by origin 3

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

“This represents an average of about 96% of the total volume exported to the U.S. for the past three years,” Mitton said.“Mexico itself represents 62% of the volume, therefore it is clear that Mexico contributes largely to the supply of mango shipped to the U.S.”

Although Mexican mangoes have been shipping to the U.S. since early January, Rio Rico, Ariz.-based Ciruli Bros. LLC didn’t start until the week of Feb. 20, said Chris Ciruli, partner.

“I always start late,” he said. “I want the mangoes to get ripe on the tree, and I want them to look good and taste good.”

Early volume was light.

“We’re having some cloudy and overcast days,” Ciruli said. “Without those high temperatures, we’re not turning the fruit out as fast as we normally do.”

That should change around mid-March, when picking will start in Michoacan and the second set of flowers will be coming out of Oaxaca and Chiapas, he said.

Ciruli was hopeful that volume would start to catch up after Easter. Peak season should be underway on yellow mangoes by then and continue through June.

“We don’t see any gaps after we hit that Easter break,” Ciruli said.

Overall volume on Mexican mangoes should be up this year, he said, and quality should be good.

“Early reports from Mexico are that eating quality is outstanding on the fruit this year out of Chiapas,” Ciruli said.

Mexico mangoes began shipping from Oaxaca and Chiapas the last week of February and are expected to start in Michoacan soon for Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Central American Produce, said CEO Michael Warren.

Ataulfo — or honey — and tommy will be the first varieties to arrive.

High winds in February affected mostly honey mango trees, causing some fruit drop, which likely will lower volume through March, he said. Otherwise, good weather and good quality are expected.

Warren said fruit came on early last year, but there was a gap in April, May and early June.

“This year, everything looks like it’s flowing in a more normal range,” he said.

San Diego-based Coast Citrus Distributors Inc. started harvesting honey mangoes Feb. 15, which was about a week later than prior years, said Isabel Freeland, vice president and CEO.

“We began harvesting reds in very small volume the third week of February,” she said. Full volume was expected around March 15.

Growing conditions were good this season, and sizing was consistent with previous years — large sizes coming out of Oaxaca and smaller fruit from Michoacan.

“After a review of all the growing regions, we expect the season to continue with excellent quality,” Freeland said.

Climate change seems to be affecting how the Mexican mango crop progresses, said JoJo Shiba, who handles sales for Hidalgo, Texas-based G-M Produce Sales LLC.

“It used to be that we were able to predict this year’s crop based on last year’s crop,” she said. “Now, every year it seems is a little bit different.”

Peak Mexican mango season used to be over by the Fourth of July.

“Last year, we had a huge gap, and the volume didn’t hit until July,” Shiba said.

That meant promotional opportunities for Memorial Day and Independence Day were lost.

“Prices were crazy high during that time, where they’re typically really low,” Shiba said.

This year, the company started shipping yellow mangoes in late February, about a month later than usual, she said.

The red tommy variety was expected to start the week of March 13 out of the Oaxaca/Chiapas area, and the hadens out of Michoacan were starting the week of March 6, a couple of weeks later than normal, said Wade Shiba, managing partner at G-M.

He attributed the late start to weather issues early in the growing season.

“It looks like the first fruit set [on yellows] is running late with fair quality and light volume,” he said.

He expected quality to improve by mid-March and volume to pick up by the end of the month. Volume was light because of strong demand from the Mexican national market and lack of export-quality yellow mangoes from Chiapas, he said.

Mexican mango shippers offer retailers a choice of consumer packs.

Ciruli Bros. plans to offer four- and six-count packs starting in late March, many of which will be used for home delivery, Ciruli said.

Central American Produce offers an 8.5-pound box and does some net bagging so consumers can pick up three or four organic or honey mangoes at a time, Warren said. Reds are next on the list for bagging.

Coast Citrus Distributors bags yellow and red mangoes for some customers and packs in different-sized boxes and reusable plastic containers, Freeland said.

And 4-kilogram boxes with scannable bar codes are a popular item offered by G-M Produce, usually for smaller independent and ethnic markets, JoJo Shiba said.

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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