By Gina Marzolo, graduate student of agricultural sciences, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, email@example.com, September 2016.
Edited by Dan Lee, communications specialist – College of Agriculture, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, September 2016.
Mango is native to eastern India and southern Asia, and there are two types: the Indian Mango and the Philippine Mango. Both are from the same species (Mangifera indica), but both have different characteristics due to their geographical distance, and they each have multiple cultivars (“Mango” – CRFG, 1996).
Mango was introduced to the United States in the early 1900s by David Fairchild, who was also the manager and creator of the Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Zervaki, 2013) (“Mission and History” – FTBG, 2016).
Mango is said to have a combination of flavors similar to an apricot, peach, and pineapple. However, if you’ve ever tried a fresh ripe mango, it’s quite difficult to compare its flavor to any other fruit. It has a tropical flavor of brilliant sweetness. Unripe mangoes will have a sour taste. The skin of the mango is inedible. The edible flesh of ripe mango can be smooth and creamy or slightly firm. Depending on the cultivar, the flesh can have many fibers or almost none. The flesh surrounds a large, flat inedible seed (“Mango Varieties”, National Mango Board, 2016).
The marketing season for mango grown in the United States is rather long. Depending on the cultivar, mangoes can be ready for harvest as early as May or as late as October with the peak season being July (“Mango” – CRFG, 1996) (Draper, 2014) (Heen, n.d.).
The demand for tropical fruits (including mango) has been increasing for the past few decades. This is due to multiple reasons, such as increased immigration from Asian and Latin American countries, as well as American consumers becoming more adventurous and health conscious with their diet (Karp, 2007).
Fresh mango is commonly sold local through farm stands, farmers’ markets, and specialty grocery stores (Cavallo, 2016). Some customers might be reluctant to purchase a fruit they’re not familiar with, thus having free literature describing the fruit and its uses can be helpful. Mango is perfect as is; however, adding fresh mango to oatmeal, salads, and smoothies is a great way to incorporate the fruit.
Mango can also be dried, frozen, or processed to add value. Green unripe or semi-ripe mangoes have been processed into chutneys, pickles, and curries. Ripe mangoes are often processed into products such as candies, canned slices, fruit bars, juice and other beverages, salsas, sorbets, and more (“Mango Processing” – FAO, n.d.) (Cullum, 2016).
According to 2013 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS), the average retail price for fresh mango was $1.38 per pound, and it was considerably higher for dried mango at $8.50 per pound (“Mangoes” - ERS, 2013).
Commercial production of mango in the United States is limited. This is largely due to climate requirements (see Management Section) (“Mango Availability” – National Mango Board, 2016).
The areas in the United States that can successfully grow mangoes are California, Hawaii, Florida, and Puerto Rico (“Mango Availability” – National Mango Board, 2016).
Florida is the largest producer of mangoes in the United States (Draper, 2014). A profile on mango states that Florida grows about 200,000 mango trees on approximately 2,000 acres, producing an estimated 100,000 bushels (5.5 million pounds) valued at $2.1 million (Mossler and Crane, 2013).
The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization lists mango, mangosteen, and guava together, reporting that of those fruits, India is the largest producer, followed by China, Thailand, Indonesia, and Mexico (FAOSTAT, 2016).
Exports/Imports/United States Consumption
The United States is the world's biggest importer of mangoes, according to a CNN article (Zervaki, 2013).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reports the exports imports and per capita consumption of many commodities. However, since mango is a minor fruit crop grown in the United States, only import data is currently available (“Fruit and Tree” – ERS, 2016).
The United States imports fresh, dried, frozen, prepared or preserved mango as well as mango juice. The data below is representative of the year 2015.
The United States imported 861 million pounds of fresh mango valued at $401 million, with Mexico as the main supplying country.
Almost 19.4 million pounds of dried mango were imported valued at $82.1 million, with the Philippines, Mexico, and Thailand as the primary suppliers.
More than 139 million pounds of frozen mango were imported valued at $131.2 million, with Mexico and Peru as the primary producers
The United States also imported 194.8 million pounds of prepared or preserved mango valued at $125.8 million. The supplying countries for prepared or preserved mango were not reported.
More than 2 million gallons of mango juice were imported valued at $8.5 million. The supplying countries for mango juice were not reported (“Fruit and Tree” – ERS, 2016).
Mango is a tropical fruit, and trees can be severely damaged or killed by temperatures lower than 30 degrees Fahrenheit (“Mango” – CRFG, 1996). However, some cultivars are more frost tolerant than others (Thompson, 2013).
Dry weather before and during the bloom period is best for fruit production. Thus areas such as Southern California could be very successful at growing the fruit (Crane et al, 2003).
Mangoes are considered to be alternate bearing (AB), meaning the plant will produce more fruit every other year. AB is internally regulated by the plant, but can be triggered by external factors such as poor management. The most successful practice to control AB is crop load management achieved by fruit thinning and pruning (“Alternate Bearing” – Pennsylvania State University – Extension, 2011).
Unfortunately, there are currently no United States enterprise budgets available online for mango.
Alternate Bearing in Fruit Crops, Pennsylvania State University – Extension, 2011.
Cavallo, C. (2016). A tour of LA’s best farmers markets, Saveur.
Crane, J.H, Balerdi, C.F., and Maguire, I. (2003). Mango growing in the Florida home landscape, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Cullum, E. (2016). Pick this up, not that: Trader Joe’s mango-flavored snacks, PopSugar.
Draper, R. (2014). Mango mania! An authentic Florida road trip, Authentic Florida Media.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Statistics Division (FAOSTAT), 2016. Click Item as mangos, mangosteens, guavas, Area as the United States of America, and From Year 2013 To Year 2013.
Fruit and Tree Nut Data - Exports/Imports, USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), 2016.
Heen, N. (n.d.). Mango on my mind, Hawaii.com.
Karp, D. (2007). Mango madness, Sunset.
Mango, California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG), 1996.
Mango Availability, National Mango Board, 2016.
Mango and Guava Processing Technologies, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, n.d.
Mango Varieties, National Mango Board, 2016.
Mangoes, Economic Research Service, 2013.
Mission and History, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG), 2016.
Mossler, M.A. and Crane, J. (2013). Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Mango, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Thompson, T. (2013). SoCal Mangoes, Fruit Gardener Magazine.
Zervaki, T. (2013). Where can you find the ‘perfect mango’?, Cable News Network (CNN).
Links checked September 2016.