U.S. mango importer anticipates increased Ecuadorian volume

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U.S. mango importer anticipates increased Ecuadorian volume

California's Freska Produce International expects its first shipments of Ecuadorian mangoes to the U.S. West Coast next week.mango_kent_ffp

Freska's Gary Clevenger told www.freshfruitportal.com the company anticipated a 20-30% volume increase from the country over last year, in part due to good weather.

"Last year was an off volume year so that allowed the trees to get a little bit stronger. Going into this year, they’ve had good weather," Clevenger said.

"Along with having more volume on the tree this year, we’re going to be seeing sizing a little smaller due to the trees taking on so much fruit. As a lot of the fruit gets harvested earlier in the season, that will allow fruit that’s left on the trees to get a little bit bigger."

Initial fruit sizing was estimated at between 10 and 14 ounces.

Volume will get started with Tommy Atkins, Ataulfos and Hadens, which will last until the end of the year. In December, the Ecuadorian season will begin to wrap up with arrivals of Kents.

In early November, as Brazilian fruit trickles off, the Ecuadorian volume will become available on the East Coast as well. Due to distance and logistical feasibility, Brazil focuses its offering in the Eastern United States.

As popularity of the fruit picks up in the U.S., Clevenger said retailers now carry a greater variety of red and yellow mangoes. With crop changes in Ecuador, yellow-skinned varieties have also become more readily available.

"About five years ago, growers started changing over Hadens to Ataulfos. Now were seeing more yellow fruit, Ataulfo varieties, coming to the U.S. out of Ecuador whereas five years ago it was nothing and now it’s getting up there in volume. There’s a good market in the U.S. for the yellow fruit," he said.

Improved availability has corresponded with a greater focus on marketing and increased consumer interest.

"We’ve seen considerable growth in consumption. At the same time, the exporting countries have been exporting a lot more volume, so we’ve taken on more volume, we’ve been able to sell it and we’ve been able to sell it with higher FOBs," he said.

"Each year it seems as if the FOB volume is growing also, along with the demand. It’s a signal that the consumer is accepting that commodity in a big way."

Overall, Clevenger anticipated a 10% to 15% increase in the company's annual mango imports but could not provide specific volume.


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