Plan for papayas — Supply, handling and merchandising tips

Suppliers expect plenty of papayas these first few months of the new year.

“Lots of volume, promotional opportunities available, mostly on the large formosa papaya from Guatemala and Mexico,” said Melissa Hartmann de Barros, director of communications for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based HLB Specialties. “Golden papaya from Brazil is going well, but volumes are reaching capacity due to program commitments.

“The first half of the year are best for promotions, when weather conditions are stable and volumes are plentiful,” Hartmann de Barros said.

Peter Leifermann, vice president of sales and marketing for Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals, also reported strong volume for the months ahead.

“We expect a return to very good availability and high quality as the fruit harvested in the first quarter of the year is among the year’s best,” Leifermann said. “Both our large Caribbean red papaya and the smaller Brooks solo papaya should be in very good form.

“Demand is typically high during the first half of the year, and summer promotions are ideal,” Leifermann said.

Denise Gomez, marketing assistant for Miami-based J&C Tropicals, also expected plenty of availability.

“The only period we typically have lighter volumes are in October/November,” Gomez said.

Suppliers are united on a key handling detail for the fruit — don’t store papayas below 45 degrees.

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North America HLB Specialties LLC

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