It's hard to imagine, but there are over five hundred different varieties of mangoes!
While the Ngowe mango grows best in forested, coastal areas on trees as big as oak trees, the Kent mango grows better in arid, inland conditions. Dried mango packs quite a dietary punch: rich in vitamins, dietary fibre and antioxidants. It also tastes great - no wonder it's one of Storimarket's best selling products.
When I think of mangoes, I always remember sitting under a mango tree after school with my face, and my shirt covered with mango juice. My friends and I used to throw stones to knock them off the trees, then eat them until we felt sick. I don't think my mum minded the mess, as long as I was getting one of my five-a-day. Not that the term existed then, but it's always been a well-known fact that mango is packed full of vitamin A and C.
Vitamin A keeps skin and mucous membranes healthy, which protect us against bacteria and viruses. It also promotes eye health, especially as we get older. The other vitamins that dried mango contain help to convert food into energy relieve stress and improve red blood cell production. As well as vitamins, dried mango is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps stabilize blood sugar levels, increases nutrient absorption, and may reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre promotes a healthy digestive system and makes sure we feel full after eating.
My obsession with mangoes has come a long way since childhood. Just as well for us at Storimarket, given the abundance of mangoes in Africa, and the increase in healthy, plant-based diets in the UK, they can be transformed into delicious and natural snacks.
That's where Azuri Health Kenya come in, started by female entrepreneur Tei in her father's garage. Azuri Health works with Storimarket to buy mangoes directly from smallholder farmers. They dry the mangoes, without sodium metabisulphite which, unfortunately, is commonly used in the business, to produce a quality, tasty product - which I can eat without making a mess!