Avocado giant Mission Produce bets on mangoes to fuel growth

By Staff
4 Min Read

Dive Brief:

  • Mission Produce, Inc. is doubling down on mangoes after strong sales from the burgeoning division, with plans to become a global leader in the category.

  • The avocado giant reported a roughly 50% increase in revenue from mangoes in the first quarter over last year, reaching $10 million due to a mix of strong pricing and strategic investments. Mission also saw robust revenue growth from its blueberries and core avocado businesses.

  • The company plans to expand its presence in emerging markets, such as Europe and Asia, and improve its product sourcing after El Niño hurt avocado production in Peru last year. CEO Steve Barnard is optimistic about 2024 if El Niño stays offshore.

Dive Insight:

Mission Produce, founded in 1983, entered the mango category in recent years to meet global demand for the tropical fruit. 

Mangoes typically grow during the avocado offseason, creating a unique synergy within Mission’s international farming business, Barnard said. In 2021, he called it a “natural addition” to the company’s growing portfolio, which also includes blueberries.

Mission owns about 700 acres of mangoes in Peru. Over the years, the company has broadened its sourcing and distribution capabilities for the fruit, with intentions of becoming a leader in the space.

“While our mango program is still in its infancy…the opportunity ahead is immense,” Barnard said in an earnings call Monday. 

Despite being one of the most consumed fruits globally, mangoes have lagged in Western markets due in part to a lack of consistent, high-quality sourcing.

“We are eager to bring some greater execution to this fragmented industry and help drive greater consumption,” Barnard told investors. Recently, Mission has reinvested in the mango business with new leadership focused on sourcing, retail distribution and operational improvements.

Additionally, the avocado giant experienced robust blueberry sales growth in the first quarter, due in part to supply constraints that led to favorable market conditions. Mission has also been investing in premium blueberry varieties to drive stronger sales returns in the future.

Blueberry sales increased 9% to $32.5 million over last year. Segment prices nearly doubled in the first quarter, offset by lower volumes related to weather issues in Peru. El Niño has impacted volumes of blueberries, as well as avocados, in previous quarters, but signs of improvement are starting to show.

“Although it is still early to provide a reliable forecast of volume from our Peruvian operations, weather conditions have improved as El Niño conditions have dissipated, which should lead to a more predictable harvest for this coming season,” Barnard said.

Revenue totaled $258.7 million in the first quarter, a 21% increase from the previous year. The company attributed this to strong avocado pricing that fattened margins, as well as higher average sales in blueberries and mangoes. Net income was breakeven over last year

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