This season’s objective reporting has commenced and we have reinforced the training and audit process, as outlined in the following article.
The objective reporting process was developed so, as an industry, our focus will be on flavour and satisfying consumers.
Random sampling will be conducted through the season. The benefits of this process is relevant to all growers and wholesalers as our aim is to increase consumption at a profitable sales price. As an industry, if we don’t focus on flavour then we risk alienating our consumers and losing market share – leading to reduced sales and downward pressure on prices.
1. Training and Auditing
Objective reporting is a key component of the Australian Mango Industry’s program to closely align the eating quality of Australian mangoes with consumers’ expectations. Consumer research identified that consumer satisfaction is closely aligned with sweetness of ripe mangoes, measured as dry matter in unripe fruit and brix in ripe fruit (ready to eat).
The industry has adopted and promoted the minimum standard for mangoes according to cultivar:
Minimum maturity standards for Kensington Pride, Calypso & Honey Gold
Dry Matter: 15%
Minimum maturity standards forR2e2
Dry Matter: 13%
To understand industry compliance to these recommendations the industry undertakes random sampling of consignments at the three major wholesale markets (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne), to measure the maturity of fruit (as measured by brix) and to report the results together with identification of grower in industry communications.
The testing is undertaken by third party service providers using the same procedure for sampling, ripening and testing. To ensure accurate measurement the industry will provide pre-season training to the service providers on procedures, use and calibration of equipment and data collection and reporting. Further, the industry will undertake a mid-season audit to ensure the accuracy of results and reporting.
- the training is conducted by an independent specialist (independent from the companies undertaking the testing)
- the training occurs prior to the commencement of objective testing each season
- all assessors will receive training prior to each season
- Mango assessors will be trained on the following:
- sampling of consignments for assessment
- mango ripeness stages—using skin colour and also flesh firmness
- use of refractometer—calibration, methods of use, storage and care
- uniform position of fruit to take juice sample
- methodology of recording results
2. Audit Process
- The audit is undertaken by an independent person (independent from the companies undertaking the testing).
- The audit occurs prior to any objective testing commencing each season
- All people who undertake the training (assessors) need to be audited prior to each season and then again, at least once, during the season.
Following training, the assessors are audited for their understanding of the process, competence at assessing ripeness stage, use of refractometer, and the correct recording of results.
The audit is undertaken:
- immediately following training
- mid-season ( eg late November/early December)
Where the audit process identifies a failure to adhere to the correct process, further training will be undertaken prior to the assessor undertaking any further testing
3. Sampling Process
Sampling of consignment
- A sample of ten fruit per consignment are drawn from a commercial consignment of mangoes (tray sales only), and these are representative of the grades and sizes available for sale. Samples are identified with a unique code that identifies grower region and sample date.
- Fruit is held in separated lots under standard ripening conditions until the individual fruit are determined to be at ‘eat ripe’ stage.
Assessment of ripeness stage
Fruit are assessed at ‘eat ripe’, which is determined by fruit firmness and skin colour. Industry skin colour charts are used as a reference guide to ripeness, but ripeness must also be assessed by firmness. Skin colour charts are available through the season for each assessor.
Calibration is performed:
- daily, before measurements are made;
- when the battery has been replaced; or
- between a long series of measurements.
Position of sampling
- The position of sampling on the cheek is mid-point between stem-end and nose
- The mango juice is taken from the cheek of the mango, mid-point between skin and seed. Both cheeks are sampled and the results of the two tests averaged. The average is the result recorded for that mango.
The results (average for each mango) are recorded. The assessor will also record the following information:
- grower name: record image of end panel of tray/carton confirming grower/packer name
- variety – photo of sample of mangoes collected for assessment
- market location
- pack date
- date sampled
- date tested
- sample no.
- fruit class
- skin colour (1 to 6)
- flesh colour (1 to 6)
- firmness (1 to 4)
- name of assessor