Objective Reporting is a key component of the mango industries program to closely align the eating quality of Australian mangoes with consumer’s expectations.
Consumer research identified that consumer satisfaction is closely aligned with the sweetness of ripe mangoes. Sweetness is measured by the brix level in the juice of an ‘eating ripe’ mango.
As a mango grows on the tree it develops and matures. As the fruit matures, the dry matter content, as measured by the percentage of total weight of the mango, increases. As the fruit ripens, the starches within the fruit convert to sugar. If the dry matter content isn’t high enough when picked, then the fruit brix level (sweetness) will never reach the level needed to give the consumer the taste they expected.
This is why, as an industry, getting maturity right before harvest is important and critical to the growers who rely on consumers to continue to buy and eat mangoes.
There are growers who believe if AMIA had not introduced the objective reporting system then the organisation could be viewed as being irresponsible and not worthy of their continued support.
There are some growers who are unhappy with the results of the objective reporting being published. While we understand their concern, we make no apology for introducing the system, although we will apologise if an error is made. Legal advice has supported our position. We are happy to discuss the system with any grower who has concerns.
We all understand that mango production is a challenge, even when everything goes according to plan. There are times when, even with the best intentions, some mangoes may be picked and packed prior to reaching minimum maturity levels. If your mangoes do get sampled and have an objective report reading less than your expectations, this may be one of those times. It is when your fruit consistently gets numbers less than expectation that you need to consider your harvest practices. Contrary to what you may think, buyers don’t think too much about the low numbers, they are looking at the higher numbers, as this is the fruit they want.
How does Objective Reporting work?
Through an HIA funded project, experienced independent assessors randomly collect 10 mangoes from a consignment (tray sales only) in each of the three wholesale markets. These mangoes are retained and tested for brix once the fruit has reached the ‘eating ripe’ stage, which is often several days following collection.
Each mango is cut, and juice from each cheek of the mango (tested mid-point of the cheek) is sampled. The two numbers are added and averaged to provide a brix number for each mango. Each of the ten mangoes undergoes this process. The ten brix numbers are then added and averaged. It is this figure that is published in the weekly industry publication, My Mango. The complete table for each sample of fruit (ten mangoes) is available to the grower.
To ensure accurate measurement the industry provides pre-season training to the market assessors on procedures, use and calibration of equipment and data collection and reporting. Also the industry undertakes a mid-season audit to ensure the accuracy of results and reporting.
This season’s objective reporting will have commenced by the time of publication of this article. The delay has been due to the need to develop a new funding model and the associated processes for levy funded activities.