(June 10) There are plenty of packaging choices for Mexican mango buyers — maybe too many.

While most buyers choose between 4-kilo to 5-kilo boxes, there are new pack sizes emerging even as there is a growing consensus on the need to standardize packaging sizes.

PROMOTION BOARD PROJECT

The mango promotion and research board is expected to be in place next year, and distributors said the new body will play a role in packaging.

“That will be one of the big things the promotion board will try to tackle, trying to bring Mexican packers into a cohesive pack size,” said Chris Ciruli, salesman for Amex Distributing Co. Inc., Nogales, Ariz.

Standardizing both the weight and size of mango containers makes sense, said Wade Shiba, president of G-M Super Sales Co. Inc., Houston.

There remains a range of mango boxes, from 4-count to 6-count packages sold to club stores to 25-pound volume fill boxes by some Mexican mango packers.

Even the standard “10-pound” box can vary in actual weight from 8 pounds to 13 pounds.

Cesar Garcia, sales manager for Mundoexport Fruits, Mission, Texas, said some packers in Mexico position the fruit inside the box to lie down flatly, while others angle the fruit to pack more in the box. The weight of the box can vary significantly depending on how the fruit is packed, he said.

“They get 8 pounds, including the box, but they are selling it like a 10-pound box,” he said.

While there is a trend to offer bigger carton sizes by some packers, there is a competing trend to offer small 4-count and 6-count packs.

Doug Hooper, president of Harvest Valley Procurement Inc., McAllen, Texas, said he has seen both tray pack and volume fill 25-pound boxes from Mexican mango packers.

BIGGER THAN 25 POUNDS RISKY

While the tray pack 25-pound carton may have a future, he said the lack of grade standards makes bigger packs risky. Repacking may be required upon arrival if quality is not consistent, he said.

Hooper said he also has seen 6-count and 4-count boxes, though those cartons are typically packed by request of a buyer like a club store.

Buyers — not the whim of mango marketers or packers — usually are the inspiration for various pack sizes, said Jose Sanchez, a partner with Alpine Marketing Corp., Miami.

WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT

While the traditional 4-kilo (9-pound) box is the most popular, club stores may want a smaller pack while retailers want a Defor (modular) pack. Alpine offers packs in three sizes, from 6 pounds to 13 pounds.

“If a buyer is going to come to me, we will conform to his need,” he said.

Jerry Wagner, sales manager for Farmers Best International LLC, Nogales, believes more and more retail buyers will want the Defor box so they can handle mangoes more efficiently in the produce department.