Mango Mania

To boost mango sales, the more exposure, the better. Mangos should be in bins, with large, creative and colorful displays, ensuring the fruit is prominent in produce aisles.

‘King of fruits’ sweeping competition aside.

Originally printed in the May 2024 issue of Produce Business.

In recent years, mangos have been on a journey in the U.S., a journey that has taken them from being seen as a specialty tropical fruit to a mainstream commodity.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, 573,792 tons of fresh mangos were imported into the country in 2022, over 65% of which originated from Mexico. This compares to 538,721 tons in 2020, or a 6.5% rise.

With mango imports continuing their uward trend, there is a real opportunity for retailers to maximize sales potential.

Mangos, of course, come in a range of different varieties, which vary in size, color, texture and sweetness-acidity balance, from the hugely popular Ataulfo, also known as Honey mango, to Tommy Atkins, Haden, Kent, Keitt and more.

According to Dan Spellman, director of marketing at the Orlando, FL-based National Mango Board, current trends in mango varieties reflect evolving consumer preferences.

While traditional varieties like Tommy Atkins remain popular, he says there has been a noticeable increase in demand for specialty varieties, such as Ataulfo and Keitt.


With a sweet, candy-like flavor, smooth texture and low fiber content, Ataulfo is the ascendancy, according to Chris Ciruli, chief operating officer of Rio Rico, AZ-based Ciruli Brothers, which markets the variety as Champagne.

Although Ciruli says smaller pockets of niche and specialty varieties are also gaining traction, the commercial volume is not as widely available as Ataulfo.

Tom Hall, sales manager for Oxnard, CA-headquartered Freska Produce International, agrees. “Everyone has their own palate, or taste profile, but, in general, we continue to see increasing demand on Kents/Keitts and Ataulfos.”

Similarly, Nogales, AZ-based Splendid by Porvenir is a major importer of Ataulfo, which it markets under its own “Jaguar” brand, and large-size Keitt mango — marketed as “King Keitts.”


A more recent player to enter the mango industry is Goldenberry Farms. The Miami, FL-based company entered the business in a novel way — as a social impact investment project. The firm’s beginnings can be traced back to an investor’s summit in Bogota, Colombia, in 2019 where founder Chris Palumbo saw an opportunity to “make an impact.”

In the years since, Goldenberry has expanded from its first berry farm in Colombia to also producing mangos.

“We look for products that are unique and interesting for consumers,” says Palumbo.

This is the thinking behind Goldenberry’s line of miniature mangos, which takes the Azucar and Mini Irwin varieties and markets them under the company’s “Sugar Mangos” brand.

“We knew the product was unique, so we coordinated with the USDA and the Colombian government to create the first important exports of these products to the U.S.,” says Palumbo.

Available in Canada since 2021 and in the U.S. since 2023, Goldenberry’s mini mangos compete from March through July during peak mango import season, but are differentiated by their size and marketing as a premium product.


On the production side, the outlook also appears bright for Ataulfo.

Despite supplies from Ecuador and Peru down by as much as 80% in the second half of 2023 due to El Niño, with Mexico also affected, volumes began to stabilize from March, according to Ciruli.

“Yellow mango supplies from Oaxaca were tight early on, yet volume stabilized as other growing regions started harvesting,” he says, adding the quality of Champagne mangos is “remarkable.”

Although peak Mexican volume is expected in June, with the season winding down over August and September, Ciruli notes that policy changes in Mexico have prevented companies from working the same schedules as in previous years. This resulted in irregular shipping schedules, with activity down midweek and rising toward the end of each week.

Rio Rico, AZ-headquartered RCF Distributors is another company with roots south of the border. Serving as the North American arm of Mexican mango grower-exporter Grupo Crespo, RCF imports and markets conventional and organic mangos sourced from Sinaloa under the “RCF” and “Crespo Organic” labels.

“Unlike Ecuador or Peru, we had a little bit more fruit in Mexico in January, but the weather has been creating a lot of havoc over the last several years,” says Nissa Pierson, who heads up RCF’s Crespo Organic brand in North America.

“The mangos have been smaller than we would expect because of the lack of rain, and the weather in December created a lot of bloom blow-off.”

According to Albert Perez, chief executive of Miami, FL-based Continental Fresh, production for the rest of 2024 is expected to unfold favorably, particularly in Mexico, where he says mango cultivation remains largely unaffected by adverse weather conditions.

“The outlook for the season is positive, with no significant weather-related challenges anticipated in Mexico,” says Perez. “This bodes well for the overall quality and availability of mangos, ensuring a steady and reliable supply for consumers and retailers alike.”

Oxnard, CA-headquartered Mission Produce has been leveraging its experience as a global leader in avocados to ramp up its mango import business over recent seasons, with the company now offering a comprehensive selection of varieties.

According to Mission mango consultant, Tim Beerup, Kent and Ataulfo have grown in importance to the overall mango category, as they help fill in supply gaps during certain windows of the year. The company’s vertically integrated farms in Peru produce Kent mangos, which are typically in season from December to March. This is followed by Mexican mangos from June to August, which covers a large part of the calendar season.

Kent, says Beerup, stands out with its dark green skin and dark red blush, and has an “excellent flavor profile.” The arrival of Mexican Ataulfos in January, on the other hand, signals “the start of spring” and offers great opportunities for promotion.


According to Beerup, effective in-store promotion of mangos can best be achieved by not displaying them next to other exotic fruits.

“Mangos are the ninth highest velocity commodity in the U.S., and they need to be displayed in key traffic areas, with a display area deserving of that significance,” he argues.

“The home of the mango in the produce department year-round is preferably in between lemons and limes. When citrus sales wane in the spring and summer, mangos are in full swing. They are always great next to avocados, as both avocados and mangos are basket builders. During the summer, mangos are the ultimate stone fruit and can bring great results with great visibility.”

For Freska’s Hall, the key to successfully tapping into mango sales potential is “space, space, space,” and recommends bins, large displays, and ensuring the fruit is prominent in produce aisles.

As well as “creative, colorful displays,” Cindy Schwing, vice president of marketing and retail sales, from Splendid by Porvenir suggests retailers focus on innovative tie-ins, cross-merchandising, in-store videos, and unique signage designed with QR codes, alongside nutritional tips and recipe ideas.

For Ciruli, the key is giving mangos space. “Build bigger displays and move them to areas of higher traffic to put them front and center,” he says. “We also recommend not building displays too high, and rotating the fruit often to keep firmer and greener fruit on the bottom and riper, softer fruit on the top.”

On the consumer-facing side, the National Mango Board’s Spellman says mango displays should emphasize freshness, ripeness and variety.

“Eye-catching arrangements, signage highlighting flavor profiles, and recipe suggestions can enhance consumer appeal,” he says.

In the opinion of Schwing, branding could also have a role to play at a retail level. “As a whole, the mango industry is taking steps to build further awareness and consumer appeal, which only helps movement,” she says. “Individually, mango distributors seem to be concentrating on strengthening brands in the marketplace by improving quality, consistency and packaging design.”


In Spellman’s opinion, cross-merchandising mangos with complementary products, such as tropical fruits, herbs, or seafood, can enhance consumer appeal and drive impulse purchases.

“Collaborations with adjacent departments like deli, bakery, or wine sections offer creative opportunities to showcase mangoes in recipe pairings or themed displays,” he says.

Similarly, Perez says many cross-merchandising opportunities exist, especially where mangos complement other products well.

“Displaying mangos alongside tropical fruits like pineapples and kiwis can create an enticing tropical fruit section that appeals to consumers looking for variety and freshness,” he suggests.

Additionally, Perez says pairing mangos with items like yogurt, granola, or coconut water in the breakfast or healthy snack section can attract health-conscious consumers seeking nutritious options.