Available all year, popular around the world and versatile, fresh mangos are a no-brainer for foodservice operators. And with the fresh flavors of summer right around the corner, distributors have the perfect opening to get operators excited about the possibilities mangos offer.
Consumers’ appetite for this colorful, tropical fruit has climbed steadily in recent years. The per capita consumption of mangos in the U.S. grew about 82% between 2005 and 2017, according to National Mango Board research, to an average of nearly three and a half pounds per person annually. The number of consumers who purchased mangos grew from 56% in 2007 to 60% in 2013 to 67% in 2017, the board found.
It’s no surprise, then, that mangos are all over menus, and in ever-greater numbers. Mangos on menus have grown steadily over the last several years, increasing 6.2% over the past five years, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. And when it comes to beverages, they’ve grown 12.9% over the past five years. The juicy fruit is most commonly found in condiments and sauces (17.8% of all mango items on menus are sauces), and is paired frequently with chicken (10.3% of all mango dishes include chicken) and shrimp (10.1%).
For operators, adding mangos to the menu satisfies guests’ preferences and adds value to dishes beyond condiments and sauces. Their juicy texture and lush, tropical flavor can heighten the craveability of dishes across the menu:
- Appetizers—From skewers with mango salsa to chicken wings with mango-chili sauce, the flavor of mangos cuts across popular ethnic cuisines.
- Salads—Fresh mango adds contrasting color, texture and refreshing taste to side and entree salads. It can be blended into dressings and pairs equally well with proteins, greens and grains such as quinoa.
- From the grill–Grilling, charring and roasting amplify the flavor of stone fruits such as mango; entrees such as jumbo shrimp with caramelized mango bring new excitement to the center of the plate.
- Desserts–A sweet ending with a healthy halo, mango works well in cheesecakes, puddings, empanadas and other sweet dishes.
- Breakfast—Added to pancakes, breakfast burritos, smoothies and other items, mango wakes up morning menus.
- Entrees—Whether cooked into a chutney or mixed with proteins, mango adds a flash of color and flavor to a plate.
- Drinks—Pureed, infused or used as a garnish, mango lifts beverages from cocktails to tea and sangria with its distinctive flavor.
While grocers typically carry just one or two varieties, there are many more types offered, from various points of origin. That variety of sourcing helps create a year-round supply of the fruit. Each variety has a distinctive flavor, providing chefs a change of pace to inspire seasonal dishes that keep menus fresh.
Like bananas, proper storage of mangos is crucial. Mangos are harvested at the mature green stage, when the sugar level supports continued ripening off the tree. They should never be refrigerated—temperatures below 54°F can cause damage and flavor loss. Ripe mangos give slightly to a gentle squeeze.
Foodservice operators tend to favor already-ripe whole mangos or fresh-cut mangos, as they are most convenient when being mindful of storage space, time to prepare recipes and labor costs. Both forms help ensure that mangos are ready for recipes.
For recipes and mango handling and preparation tips, visit the National Mango Board.
This post is sponsored by National Mango Board