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Distributors and business executives handling the imports predict that prices will come down during the next year or two and that the supply will vastly expand, creating a lasting demand.

The steep cost and scarcity on this first round are the result of disorganized logistics and inadequate infrastructure. India produces 14 million tons of mangoes a year, or about half of the world’s total supply.

Only 60,000 tons are exported, according to the U.S.-India Business Council — not because the domestic population is eating them. More than a third of all Indian produce spoils en route to market, the victim of poor roads and a lack of refrigeration. Indian mangoes coming to the United States must be irradiated, and India has only one irradiation facility.

“With the one gateway at Nasik, how many of those can they really push out into the international marketplace?” says Ron Somers, president of the U.S.-India Business Council, referring to the Indian industrial city that houses the irradiation facility.

In addition, the mangoes have been coming by special air shipment, the most expensive form of transport. Mr. Somers says that among his 250 members are several cargo companies, including UPS and FedEx, that have been looking for business to fill their planes on return trips from India, flights on which the planes often go empty.

“As the supply chain infrastructure gets discovered, and as the transportation linkage gets pulled together, you will find a reduction in cost that’s a benefit to consumers,” Mr. Somers says. “And I do think the enthusiasm will be sustained.”

Irradiation slows the ripening process and extends the shelf life of mangoes, and it is hoped that extending the shelf life eventually will buy enough time to ship the fruit by sea, a more cost-effective option. Although hugely popular elsewhere in the world, mangoes remain mostly exotic to Americans, who eat about 20 pounds of apples per person a year — 10 times the amount of mangoes.

They are, however, open to the concept, say retailers and distributors, and mainstream retailers are interested in getting Indian mangoes. But first the price has to come down and supply increase.

“Down the road when things open up and we can import them by ocean rather than air, and there’s more of them, that changes the ballgame,” says Richard Robinson, marketing manager of Triton International, a distributor of niche items like guava paste rolls and chocolate dipped frozen bananas.

“These first few shipments have been considered more or less a test just to make sure we can do it. Like anything else, it starts small and builds,” he says.

Here are some simple recipes for making the most of Indian mangoes:

Mango lassi

Lighter and tangier than a smoothie, lassi makes a terrific breakfast drink or refreshing beverage on a hot afternoon. This recipe takes 5 minutes.

1 cup peeled and chopped mango

½ cup ice

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