Increasing Australia’s appetite for mangoes one bite at a time

March edition of delicious magazine

March edition of delicious magazine

‘Shoot to Thrill’, those were the words Anthony Huckstep used to headline his article in the March edition of delicious Magazine. With national distribution and a readership of over 570,000, delicious is a unique magazine that celebrates food and the people who produce it. 81% of delicious readers like to eat healthy but do not want to compromise on taste.

The delicious article highlighted the mango industry’s commitment to consistently giving Australians the mango they want—juicy, sweet, and packed with that unique and exquisite flavour, and explained how we are using near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) technology to achieve our quest.

As the sun sets on our third season of the marketing plan, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on just how far we have come as an industry in our endeavour to delight customers with the flavour and overall quality of mangoes.

Our journey began with implementing NIR technology to assist growers with the decision to pick and simultaneously implementing objective reporting using brix as the measure. We conducted research to understand what levels of flavour were necessary to keep consumers hungry for mangoes, and from there we established industry specifications with minimum dry matter levels for the four major mango varieties.

Peter Marks demonstrates NIR technology to delicious journalist Anthony Huckstep.

Peter Marks demonstrates NIR technology to delicious journalist Anthony Huckstep.

By the end of the second season we had validated that a mango’s dry matter remains stable from the time a mango is picked until the time it is eaten allowing the industry to use NIR technology to test dry matter as a predictor of flavour at any stage of the ripening process in any step of the supply chain and we had established industry specifications for the visual characteristics of class one and class two fruit.

As we moved into our third season industry and retailer quality specifications were aligned, and we dispensed with the variability of brix testing. NIR technology became the method of testing for objective reporting in central markets in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Throughout the journey we engaged with retailers and during October and November 2016 Noel Ainsworth (Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) and myself delivered 14 mango quality workshops to 86 quality control and buying team participants in retail distribution centres across the eastern seaboard including Aldi, Coles, Costco, Harris Farm Markets, IGA (Metcash), and Woolworths.

The workshops featured an overview of the Wheel of Velocity and Momentum, and the two moments of truth that drive consumer purchasing behaviour. We also educated the quality and buying teams on the physiological changes in mangoes from harvest to retail shelf. This included ripening; how to correctly identify and assess mango defects (major and minor), as well as explaining and demonstrating the use of NIR technology for quality assessment of flavour (dry matter).

Woolworths were further engaged—using the industry’s NIR technology, and a team of independent assessors to assess the dry matter of the mangoes that were delivered into their distribution centres across the eastern seaboard. This collaboration led to a far greater number of assessments for objective reporting in weekly editions of My Mango.

Big thanks and congratulations to all growers, wholesalers, and retailers who have committed to consistently delivering a quality mango that delights and excites Australian taste buds.

For more information contact Treena Welch at AMIA:
marketing@mangoes.net.au or 0417 001 253.