Monitoring mango fruit quality through the supply chain to the US - 2 (MG16003)
What was it all about?
This project was established to support the continued development of mango exports to the United States, running through the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons.
During each season, it was responsible for monitoring compliance and quality across mango varieties and exporters, from the time of export treatments in Australia right through to the fruit appearing in retail displays in the US.
The project team, working with the US Mango Working Group of growers, exporters and the Australian Mango Industry Association, reported back to Australian growers and exporters on quality, compliance and supply chain activity in the US market throughout the two seasons, using industry channels. This involved undertaking visual observations at treatment, import and at the retail level.
The 2016/17 season was the third year of access for Australian mangoes to the US market, and the second year of a three-year export pilot program developed between the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the US Government Department of Agriculture. It was an opportunity for this project to help build on the earlier two seasons of export work, and to help guide the solving of problems that were identified during monitoring of 2015/16 shipments, including overheating and overripening of produce.
During 2016/17, 15 commercial shipments of Australian mangoes were made to the US between October 2016 and February 2017, totalling around 81 tonnes. Some quality issues were noted, mainly due to under-ripe fruit at export that stopped two shipments, and transport issues that affected two other shipments.
During 2017/18, the project captured information on 17 commercial shipments. The project team noted that there were no compliance issues observed in the US or from a USDA audit visit. “Australian mangoes were sold in supermarkets in US states of Texas, California, Washington and Colorado, [and] an estimated 65 per cent of the Australian mangoes in the US in 2017/18 were sold through one retailer in Texas,” the researchers note.
“Retailer variety preferences are starting to emerge. Quality issues (appearance) after six weeks into the program again impacted on retail momentum and sales volume. These quality issues were attributed to (i) excessive time in distribution for some shipments (old fruit) and (ii) some shipments being slightly too ripe fruit at export. Attractive, sweet, well flavoured Australian mangoes remain popular with US retailers and consumers.”
The project team also reported that “sales velocity, ‘stock turn’ or matching supply with demand to ensure the freshest fruit on display and minimising old fruit continues to be a challenge as old, poor appearance fruit dampens retail demand.
“The recommendations, similar to previous years, are:
- Continued attention to cool chain performance, particularly time from packing shed to retail display
- Continued attention by growers and exporters to the stage of ripeness at treatment
- Continued attention by importers and exporters to the actual level of retail (consumer) demand and therefore what should be supplied per week to sell out and minimise the volume of old fruit on display
- Continued attention to compliance requirements.
The investment also facilitated post-season debriefs of the US mango program with growers, exporters and stakeholders.
The 2017/18 season also involved a trial of Sendum real-time temperature and location loggers, which you can find out more about on p20 of the Autumn 2018 edition of the levy-funded Mango Matters magazine.
This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Mango Fund