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Courier cos get into mango business

By Deepa Krishnan & Aparna Krishnakumar in Mumbai
May 12, 2005 13:30 IST
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Marketing and courier companies are going bananas over mangoes. Many firms have started branding and retailing mangoes to capture the mango mania in the domestic as well as the international market.

Some have even launched schemes where customers can send mangoes with personalised messages, while others have come out with schemes targeted at corporates.

Mumbai-based Thought Waves Agro (India) Pvt Ltd, a marketing and telecommunications company, has started selling mangoes this year under its brand name 'Mango Magic'. The firm buys mangoes directly from the farmers and then sells them to customers.

It is aiming to sell 60 per cent of its produce through retailing. The company expects to handle 3,00,000 dozen mangoes this season. They are also seeking to export 20 per cent of the mangoes and retail the balance 20 per cent to malls and corporates. It has also launched an aggressive advertising and promotion campaign.

Express delivery companies also do not want to miss the bus. DHL, an express delivery and logistics company, is in the second year of its season special called 'Mango Express,' under which they ship mangoes to 92 countries.

The company has tied up with several mango exporters for this purpose and is targeting both international and national markets.

Ramesh Natarajan, marketing head- DHL India, said, "There is a little India everywhere and Indians love to eat alphonso mangoes. Also we wish to promote mango gifting as a corporate initiative." Mango shipments, however, are quarantined in the US and Australia.

Last year, the company had 6,000 shipments for their mango special product alone. DHL offers mangoes in packs of 1 kg and 2 kgs, which are called 'Ripe-in-Time' mangoes, which contain two or three ripe mangoes so that consumers do not have to wait for them to ripen.

Similarly, TNT, another express delivery company, is also in the second year of its 'Mango Bytes' scheme. The company offers the option of delivering mangoes to 35 countries and customers can send personalized messages along with the packs. The company has tied up with major exporters for this. Also, customers do not have to pay for the mangoes but have to only pay shipment charges.

These branded mangoes are, however, roughly 40 per cent costlier per dozen than the mangoes sold in the wholesale market.

Despite a deficit mango harvest in Maharashtra which has yielded roughly 9,000 tonne of alphonso against the regular 15,000 tonne, the wholesale rate of mangoes is Rs 60-150 per dozen.
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Deepa Krishnan & Aparna Krishnakumar in Mumbai
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