I like my honey mangoes just a little wrinkly, and I buy my avocados green and firm. These aren’t just based on taste preferences — it’s because I know my fruit.

I know a honey mango gets sweeter the longer I wait to eat it, and I know that firm avocados bought on Friday will be perfectly ripened on Tuesday.

Do you think most consumers know that?

They don’t.

Fresh Trends tells us fewer than 50% of consumers know how to pick a ripe piece of fruit, and even fewer know how to ripen it once they take it home. Bananas are an exception, but they’re also the easiest because they come with their own built-in color chart.

wrinkly mango
Wrinkly mangoes are delicious! Who knew? I didn't, until Dennis told me. 

In all of my travels, in all of my store checks, I’ve never seen a sign that lets me know a slightly wrinkled mango is a delicious mango. I learned that trick during a National Mango Board session led by Wendy McManus and Dennis Kihlstadius at Viva Fresh last year. They were talking mango ripening programs, and Dennis happened to mention that wrinkly ataulfos were the most delicious.

Talk about a lightbulb moment. If you’ve ever run into Dennis at a trade show while he’s working with the National Mango Board or USA Pears, you know you’ll walk away with at least two things you never knew before.

Or maybe you knew them, but you forgot about their importance in the day-to-day rush.

Have you forgotten about the Killing Zone for stone fruit?

Or do you just not care about flavor?

That’s blunt, I know, but it’s also true. Too many retailers automatically store stone fruit, mangoes, tomatoes, tropicals and the like in improper conditions, fearing shrink, or just for a lack of adequate training. You shouldn’t be afraid of the shrink. You should be more afraid of a disappointed consumer who blames YOU for stocking mealy peaches.

 I know you didn’t intend to sell someone a disappointment, but something happened somewhere between the tree and that consumer’s shopping cart that did irrevocable damage to flavor, and you need to do everything you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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