Our Catherine and Marta recently travelled to
India to visit the people who supply our mangoes. As well as tasting the new
season mangoes, this
trip gave them the opportunity to see how our suppliers are getting on with our
five point sustainability plan. The farmers in the region were struggling with
lower mango yields so we started a project in partnership with the University
of Konkan to address some of the challenges they were facing. We wanted to find
sustainable ways to make the mango trees as strong and resilient as possible,
so that they could still produce high mango yields despite the changing
While they were out there, Catherine kept a
travel log of some of things she and Marta got up to, and what they learned
about our mangoes along the way:
As I’m quite new to the team,
this was my first time going over to India and I was very excited to see the
mango farms for myself and find out how everything worked. After an overnight
flight, we landed in a very sticky but stunning Mumbai and started the long car
journey to our first supplier (easily the bumpiest car ride I've ever been
on). It was fascinating to drive into the country, away from the big
cities, and see the real India. It was hot, hectic and just as colourful as I’d
hoped it would be and the views from the window definitely made up for the
bumps in the road.
When we arrived at our first
supplier, we started learning about all the work they do with the farmers to
improve yields and the new planting techniques they have been trying out, which
they needed to implement in order to adapt to the changing climate affecting
their fruit. The farms have now started experimenting with different planting,
pruning and irrigation techniques. By keeping the trees smaller, the mangoes
are easier to pluck and, therefore, the trees yield much more fruit.
The scenery was stunning as we
drove to our next supplier – filled with lush tropical trees and greenery. When
we arrived, we had a go at picking some mangoes ourselves as all of the mangoes
on the farms are hand-plucked using a basket on the end of a stick. The
equipment looks very simple, but is excellent at getting the job done. Here’s
one of our pickers in action:
Once they've been picked, the mangoes are washed, placed into bowls, sorted, sent to be ripened and then turned into puree.
One of the most exciting moments
of the trip was when we met the king of mangoes himself – the lovely Badrul,
who stars in our British TV ads. He doesn’t speak English but we
used a translator to tell him that we were really happy to meet him and that he
was famous in the UK.
We reckon he should've been
wearing this shirt when we made the ad (maybe one to consider for next time).
After visiting the suppliers, we’re
chuffed to see that our sustainability plan is starting to make a real
difference to the way the farmers in the region grow their fruit. We use mango
in lots of our recipes (including this
and we really hope you think they’re as tasty as we do.