The National Mango Board is starting its second half-decade with a flurry of research and educational activities, board marketing officials say.
The board, which received a 73% margin of industry approval to continue for another five-year stint in a referendum held in the spring of 2010, is focused on building consumption, and it provides numbers on its success in the last several years:
Total U.S. average weekly mango sales per store climbed 23.7% in 2010, to $153.
Weekly sales per store increased in all four quarters, with a seasonal peak of $222 in the second quarter. First and third quarters showed the greatest increases over 2009.
Total U.S. average mango volume per store per week climbed 23% in 2010, to 172.
As in sales, volume increased in every quarter with the strongest increases in Q1 and Q3.
In regional comparison of weekly sales per store, New England, Pacific and West South Central regions were the strongest. East South Central and South Atlantic were the weakest, according to data from West Dundee, Ill.-based Perishables Group.
In regional volume per store per week, the Pacific, West, South-Central and Mountain regions were the strongest. East, South-Central, South Atlantic and West-North-Central regions were the weakest, according to Perishables Group data.The board’s program targets consumers as well as retailers, foodservice, nutritionists and other key audiences with information about selection, ripening, cutting, varieties and nutrition along with recipes, said Wendy McManus, marketing director.
The board gets passing marks from Greg Golden, partner in Amazon Produce Network, Mullica Hill, N.J.
“I feel they have boosted demand because of the same demand coming in and the average price seems to stay higher. I see some of the promotions,” he said.
Sabine Henry, tropical fruit sales manager for Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Central American Produce, said the information the board supplies is crucial to keeping a consistent, high-quality supply on the market.
“What I think they’re doing a good job with is giving good information about supply and what to expect on volume and everything, but I don’t think, there’s a lot of people that don’t know,” she said. “Consumption is from influence from a lot of ethnic groups in the U.S. It’s still one of the No. 1 foods consumed in the U.S., but it’s by Hispanic and Asians. Asians like kents because it’s the least fiber. It’s a better-eating fruit. But it may remind them of home.”
Tony Godinez, a member of the board and president of Hidalgo, Texas-based Godinez International LLC and Freshrite Produce LLC, said the board has made good progress in boosting mango consumption across a U.S. market that had been relatively unfamiliar with the product.
“The board has been active for six years, and we’re seeing upward trends in consumption,” Godinez said. “Of course, they attack many different fronts on the promotion side, both in educating the retailers, working with foodservice companies and restaurants and some chefs for the major chains.
“As far as what works best at retail, I’d say the best way is making sure we have good quality on the retail shelves and colorful displays. Mangos are eye-catching, and when they promote them — that’s the best way to get the consumer to take them home.”
Year-round consistency in quality and volume is a major contribution of the board, said Chris Ciruli, partner in Ciruli Bros., Rio Rico, Ariz.
“We need to continue to drive consumption higher, and certainly they have done a lot of work, but we need to work with chains on handling and displays,” he said. “But they’ve definitely made strides in their first five years, so they obviously got a vote of confidence in getting another five years.”