Good mangoes, good prices

Goonellabah hobby farmer Noel Collins waiting to sell his last tray of mangoes.
Goonellabah hobby farmer Noel Collins waiting to sell his last tray of mangoes.

THE best mango season for years has seen a dramatic fall in prices, but it’s still worth shopping around for the luscious summer fruit, a Northern Star survey has found.

This week prices have varied dramatically, with supermarkets selling the fruit at around $3 a pop, while at least one roadside stall was offering them for as little as $7 for a tray of 20.

Yesterday, Goonellabah retiree and hobby gardener Noel Collins, who has seven mango trees at a McLeans Ridges property, had only one tray left.

“It’s been a great year for mangoes, and lots of people have been stopping to buy them. I sold nine trays just this morning,” he said.

Mr Collins, who sells a range of vegetables from his backyard, said he could offer the fruit so cheaply because he only had to cover his costs.

“I mainly get the same people every year,” he said. “I get a few uni students who came and get stuff off me because it’s cheap. The supermarkets are too dear. They have cut their own throats.”

The Northern Star survey found that while roadside stores were selling mangoes for less than $1 each, the fruit was being sold for $3.39 a pop at IGA, $2.50 at Woolworths and $2.96 at Coles, most of which comes from plantations in Queensland.

While IGA did not return calls yesterday, a Woolworths spokesman said the supermarket giant had to cover a lot of overheads, including transport and salaries.

“We are competitive with other supermarkets and grocery stores and regularly do comparison pricing, but it would be fair to say we don’t check prices of mangoes at roadside stalls that only have to travel a couple of metres from the farm,” he said.

Coles corporate affairs spokesman Jim Cooper said quality was one of the major reasons for the large price difference.

“Our mangoes are $1 cheaper than they were last year, which reflects the increase in volume,” he said.

“We pride ourselves on selling high quality mangoes and that is reflected in the price.

“The ones you find on the roadside are usually smaller with discoloured skin.”

Not surprisingly, it is an argument Mr Collins doesn’t buy.

“You won’t find many local mangoes in the supermarkets, but I don’t think they are better than our mangoes,” he said.

“There is no difference in the quality.”

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