Mango growers on tour— engaged, excited and exhilarated

Our growers at Mess-tival

Our growers at Mess-tival

Australia celebrated the first weekend of summer and a diverse group of mango growers left farms across the country to take to Sydney streets and experience all the energy, excitement, and exhilaration of a mango season in its peak! 

Boarding the bus was Muy and Erika Keav from Mama Mangoes, Darwin; Steve Beatty from Blush, Berry Springs; Greg McMahon and Emma Harrison from Seven Fields, Katherine; Luciano Raco and Julian Harrison from Kings Farm, Katherine; Karen Muccignat from Muccignat Farming, Mutchilba; and Melanie Groves from Groves Farm Yeppoon.

Now in its third year the purpose of the Grower Market Tour is to enable growers to engage in all aspects of the supply chain, giving them a real appreciation of what it takes to successfully market mangoes, and keep the “wheel of velocity and momentum” moving to the beat of the crop. The tour gave growers the opportunity to see things they had never seen, hear things they had never heard, go behind doors they would not ordinarily walk through and share in conversations they would not otherwise have.

Day 1 - Retail Tour

Our tour began on Saturday visiting a wide range of stores across all retail markets including: Aldi, Coles, Independent Greengrocers, Harris Farm Markets, IGA and Woolworths. While the number and size of the mango displays varied from retailer to retailer one thing was indisputable—mangoes were the KING OF FRUITS, commanding front and centre stage at every store we visited.

Coles, Waterloo

Coles, Waterloo

The highlight of the day was the personalised tour and five course lunch hosted by David Harris, his family and his buying team at their Drummoyne store. Afterall it was Saturday and several of them had driven considerable distances to happily share their story, explain their mango strategy, openly answer all our questions and best of all, share a delicious meal featuring all things mango. 

What our growers said about the retail tour

“Our eyes were dazzled by the many great fruit shops and supermarkets who, not only had large displays of mangoes at the very front of the shop, but had multiple displays throughout the entire fruit and vegetable section, so if you had not bought a mango on the way in, you certainly had to leave with some.” - Karen Muccignat

“It was fantastic to see the major supermarkets, as well as independent grocers, putting in such a big effort to sell our fruit, maintaining high quality at good prices. Everyone was very focused on flavour, and we learned from the retailers that this is critical for growing sales.”  - Emma Harrison

“The most impressive were the Harris Farm Markets shops, the way they lay out their mangoes in so many different spots. Everywhere we turned there were mangoes—in the carpark, outside the shop, in front of the shop, and so many places inside the shop. They had all the varieties, plus small mangoes, large mangoes, trays of mangoes, imperfect picks, even mango smoothies and cut mango cups, and so many people buying the mangoes!” - Muy Keav

Day 2 - Mango Mess-tival

Sunday dawned and with great excitement our growers enthusiastically boarded the bus and headed for Bondi Beach. Mango Mess-tival (Mess-tival) is our industry’s signature event and something our growers were very keen to experience. Meeting and greeting consumers, they shared their stories, their knowledge and their passion, gave tips and advice, handed out samples, and smiled for the paparazzi.

Mel Groves shows off R2E2s at the Mess-tival

Mel Groves shows off R2E2s at the Mess-tival

What our growers said about Mango Mess-tival

“Mess-tival was tremendous, with thousands of consumers eagerly tasting the main four varieties – Kensington Pride, R2E2, Honey Gold and Calypso. Consumers loved hearing our grower stories and the free-flowing information and feedback was awesome.” - Karen Muccignat

“Mess-tival was amazing. It was a complete eye opener and I think it is an excellent way for our mango industry to interact with the public. It was incredible to see so many enthusiastic mango lovers on mass.” - Steve Beatty

“Mess-tival was spectacular, so much colour, noise and excitement. Everyone loved tasting the different varieties and they all wanted to buy them. We could have sold truckloads in four hours so I hope the Bondi retailers did a roaring trade.” - Emma Harrison

Day 3 - Markets and distribution centres tour

Monday was our final day and as the sun came up we boarded the bus to tour the Sydney markets and meet with wholesalers. This was an opportunity for growers to gauge the pulse of the market, to meet and speak with a range of wholesalers, to see our ‘objective reporting’ process, and to add to their market intelligence. The day ended with a tour of a Costco store and behind-the-scene tours of both the Woolworths and Aldi distribution centres providing growers with a deeper understanding of the different business models; the service and quality requirements and the receivals, order picking, dispatch and quality assessment processes. 

Woolworths Distribution Centre

Woolworths Distribution Centre

As the day drew to a close our growers left Sydney engaged, excited, exhilarated and exhausted. On behalf of the AMIA I extend sincere thanks and gratitude to all the growers, wholesalers and retailers who participated in making our 2016 Grower Market Tour such a rich experience and an unforgettable mango memory. 

What our growers said about the markets and distribution centres tour

“The distribution centres was a highlight of the trip. It was fascinating to see such a huge part of the supply chain that is too often overlooked. Those we spoke to at Woolworths, Aldi, and Costco were very enthusiastic about mangoes and Woolworths showed real passion as they generously shared their sales strategy and commitment to high quality fruit with great flavour. We learned that Woolworths are using the F-750 Produce Quality Meters to test the dry matter of mangoes on arrival at their distribution centres, an initiative to be applauded.” - Melanie Groves

“Overall it was a very engaging, informative and fun trip and I would like to thank my fellow tour mates for their great company. I totally urge any mango farmer to consider attending the next one!” - Karen Muccignat

“I found it a very enlightening experience to see that end of the business. In the past I have never had anything to do with the fruit after I have delivered it to the packing shed. It was great to see how it is handled, displayed and marketed to the public once it arrives. I would highly recommend the tour to any grower.” - Steve Beatty

This year’s dates have been set and planning is already underway. We’d love you to join us so please put Friday 1 to Monday 4 December 2017 in your diary now.

For more information contact
Treena Welch at AMIA: or
0417 001 253.