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Coast Tropical expects strong Mexican volume

With its growers adding groves, Coast Tropical is anticipating that its Mexican volume of mangos will increase by about 20 percent this year.

That was the view of Isabel Freeland, vice president of the San Diego, CA-based firm. “We are going to be bigger this year,” she said. “We’ve added another packing house in Chiapas. Right now we are also operating in Oaxaca and on March 7, we will open up our packing house in Guerrero.”

Freeland said the early season fruit out of Mexico is variable as some growers have put some pre-mature green-skinned fruit on the market. “That’s always a problem at the beginning,” she said on Feb. 20.

Freeland said supplies will remain uneven until about the second week of March. “From about March 12 until September, we are expecting good supplies at promotable pricing.”

With supplies still limited, she said the February market was in the $5.50 to $8 range depending upon variety and size. At that point most of the fruit coming out Mexico was the Honey mango, which is the new name for the yellow-skinned variety that was formerly referred to as an Ataulfo. Peru was still shipping the Kent variety but volume from that point of origin was on the decline and was expected to be finished by early March.

“We aren’t seeing any promotions yet,” said Freeland. “It’s too soon because of the cold weather (across the United States). People don’t start thinking about mangos until its gets hotter.”

She also noted the rise in organic mangos. While the volume is still relatively low, Freeland said demand is increasing. However, she said organic mangos are already priced higher than conventional mangos and then they have higher distribution costs as well because lack of volume orders from buyers increases the distribution costs. “When someone orders one pallet or 20 boxes that drives up the distribution cost,” she said.

But she said both supply and demand are increasing and there will be plenty of opportunities for promotion of organic Mexican mangos over the next six months. “The increase in production of organic mangos follows the same curve as conventional mango,” she said, reiterating that the middle of March should bring pricing geared toward mango promotions. “Organic mangos will be higher priced, but there will be promotional opportunities.”