Pineapples become more convenient
Freshly cut: Supermarkets facilitate consumers by selling special peeling tools or by offering freshly cut pineapple in consumer packages. Fresh pre-cut pineapple has found a significant consumer group in Northern Europe and is a rapidly growing segment.
Baby pineapples: ‘Baby pineapples’ are also developing new market potential. Their size is excellent for individual consumption and the stems are soft and edible, making it an easy-to-eat variety. Baby pineapples are sometimes also used as decoration.
Conserved pineapple: A large share of pineapples is consumed as conserved fruit, mostly canned. Frozen and dried pineapple is also becoming more widely available.
The convenience trend is strongest in Northern Europe, especially in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. In the southern part of Europe, more time is spent on eating and food preparation, and this is favourable for suppliers of fresh or canned pineapples.
Flavour is important
Because fresh pineapples do not ripen after being harvested, the flavour and sweetness of the fruit is an important selection criterion for importers. European consumers have a preference for sweet pineapples with juicy flesh. Although the MD2 variety is the most popular, opportunities exist for other sweet varieties. Lesser known varieties are mainly sold in street markets, ethnic shops and greengrocers. For example, with their superior flavour, ripe, air-freighted Sweet Cayenne pineapples are primarily destined for the specialist and catering segments.
Growing interest in sustainable fruit
In Europe, trends are developing towards more sustainable approaches to production and processing of fresh fruit. Environmental and social issues are becoming increasingly important. Social and environmental certification schemes include actions aimed at sharply reducing and registering the use of pesticides, ensuring employee safety and/or including price guarantees for producers.
Certification schemes that are in line with the Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP) are more likely to be accepted by European supermarkets.
Reducing carbon footprint
For fruit importers, lowering the carbon footprint is becoming increasingly important as consumers and retailers are paying more attention to this topic. In the case of pineapples, the best flavour is delivered by air-freighted, sun-ripened fruit, while environmental considerations and price favour transport by sea. This is a trade-off, and buyers will differ in both demand and approach.
The increased attention to health and the environment is also generating interest in organically produced pineapple. The demand for organic pineapple is especially strong in northern European markets.