“Unless something unexpected happens, there won’t be large promotable volumes of mangos until mid-April”

From Fresh Plaza | 21 December 2023

Overview of mangos in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on December 21, 2023.

The extreme shortage in the mango market continues and is expected to last another few months due to low production from Peru and Ecuador this season. During Thanksgiving week, there was a temporarily supply relief with the arrival of two vessels from Brazil. Usually, one vessel arrives weekly, but due to the previous vessel being delayed, two vessels arrived at about the same time. “This happened during Thanksgiving week, which is already a low-demand week to begin with,” says Greg Golden with Amazon Produce Network. “These two vessels flooded the market, and it took two weeks to clean up supplies,” he added. As a result, the market was sloppy until early December.

After that, pricing immediately went back up as the 1 million boxes that arrive into the US each week don’t meet the baseline winter demand of 1.7 to 1.8 million boxes. What is causing the reduced supply? The growing seasons of both Ecuador and Peru have been impacted by rains from El Niño. “Mango trees need to undergo stress to produce fruit,” said Golden. “Typically, the dry season and cool nights provide the stress that causes flowering, but this year the temperatures stayed warm at night and the rains periodically came, reducing the stress on the trees to produce their offspring, the fruit.” This resulted in limited as well as delayed flowering, pushing back the start of the season and causing lower volumes.

mango volumes by origin 1

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

Update Ecuador and Peru

Currently, Ecuador is fairly close to finishing its peak season. “After this week, production will drop rapidly,” shared Golden. If the remainder of the season won’t be impacted by early rains, Ecuador will pack light volumes until January 12 with arrivals in the US continuing until the last week of January. According to estimates, Ecuador is expected to finish the season with a volume that is about 50 percent of its normal levels. For Peru, the situation is even more dramatic as the country is expected to ship about 35 percent of its normal volume. The start of Peru’s season was even more delayed than Ecuador and the country is just now getting started. Harvest and packing are expected to continue through mid-March. “In terms of supply from Peru, we are heavily competing with Europe as the continent is the main market for mangos from Peru, followed by the US in second place,” Golden commented.

Brazil finishing up

Due to the shortages from Ecuador and Peru, Brazil stepped in and shipped a much higher percentage of their supply to the US compared to a normal year. “However, after this week, all pack houses in Brazil will be shutdown for the season except one.” Mexico will get started with Ataulfo mangos in January and Tommy Atkins and Haden mangos from Mexico will start to be packed for the US market in February. At this point in time, the market is not widely accepting of irradiated mangos which are already coming from Mexico. The bulk of the volume to the US from now through February will come from Ecuador and Peru with supply expected to remain around one million boxes per week.

Retailers are understanding

All in all, it has been a very challenging South American mango season up until now. “At the same time, our retail partners have been very understanding,” commented Golden. “As long as they are informed ahead of time and shortages don’t come as a surprise, they are able to re-allocate their space and promote other items.” Golden does expect demand to be strong as soon as spring comes around and supply increases.

“There is lots of pent-up demand and retailers will want to get back on track promoting and selling mangos. They will compare their numbers with the previous year and try to move volume. Unless something unexpected happens like a delayed vessel, I believe there won’t be volume to promote round mangos until about mid-April. However, retailers should stay ready and be open to in-store promotions in case the unexpected happens.”

On the flipside, there will be opportunities for retailers to turn back on the SKU on Ataulfo (Honey) mangos from Mexico as early as mid-February and promote this variety regardless of the shortage of mangos in the “Round” category. “I always advise retailers to concentrate on the Ataulfo variety starting in March until the flood gates open on round mangos.”

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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