Israel exclusive market for Dominican Republic pineapples

“We are currently exporting weekly air shipments to Madrid, Spain and Tel Aviv, Israel. Exporting pineapples to Israel is unique, because besides the Dominican Republic, only Ghana and Kenya are allowed to export its pineapples to that country. This makes it a very exclusive market and affords us the opportunity to not have to compete directly with large producing countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia. It is very difficult to receive an exporting license to Israel since they have very strict food safety regulations. To get everything up and running it can take many months, but it’s a great market for us and definitely worth it”, explains Oscar Peña from FRUDEP, a producer of premium pineapples in Dominican Republic.

He explains that the Israeli market is wonderful for producers because they are interested in pineapples that are calibres 8, 9, and 10. The European market, however, prefers calibres 5,6, and 7, which works perfectly for the company since this covers the full range o calibers of exportable pineapples. Oscar explains, “When exporting to Israel, we prepare the fruits in 12kg boxes, and we fit up to 10 pineapples per box since we remove the crown to comply with regulations which allows for more usable space for net fruits. Supermarkets in Israel sell individual pineapples at a higher price per kilo, therefore they prefer smaller sized fruits. The smaller sizes weigh less, so the price is lower and this makes it more attractive for consumers to purchase the fruit.”

Exporting to Spain
“Spain is a very different market, as there are pineapples from all parts of the globe being exported there.” However, Oscar says that so far it hasn´t been too difficult to market their fruits in the European market. “Our fruits are extremely well received. We send pineapples with 16 level brix, great quality and we don´t compete in pricing. Our advantage for being able to do this is because we export by air. It would be different if we would ship our pineapples by sea.”

Air export with maritime boxes
FRUDEP uses maritime boxes instead of the traditional vertical boxes used for air shipments. “It gives us several advantages, such as being able to fit more boxes per pallet. The cargo in the airplane is limited, so by doing this we make more efficient use of the space. Besides, it’s less costly to use the maritime boxes, than the traditional air shipment boxes where the pineapples are packed upright. The fruits arrive beautifully laying down and we make sure the crowns arrive in excellent condition as well.”

Besides cutting costs on packaging and being able to use the cargo space in the airplane more efficiently, it also allows FRUDEP to pack different calibre fruits in one shipment. “Up until last week, we exported about 8 to 10 pallets a week. From this week forward we will be pushing our output, because we have more volume available. We will now be exporting 18 to 20 pallets a week.”

Fresh juice market
According to Oscar, the juice market is booming globally, especially when they are produced naturally, without the use of preservatives, added water or sugar. “We are currently producing our very own pineapple juice which follows a strict process of fruit selection. By strict process I mean we only select pineapples of export quality, specific maturity, and brix level, that could not be exported due to small size or because of slight aesthetic damages to the outside of the fruit, but maintaining a pristine quality internally. Our goal is to maximize profitability of all harvested fruits, not just the 5-10 calibers.”

FRUDEP will receive an industrial sized juicer very soon. “The International Executive Service Corps. (IESC) has donated this machine after we applied to their program and passed some rigorous audits and inspections of our production and the company as a whole. Our intention is to produce and bottle fresh juice on a medium scale and sell them locally at first. In order to do this, we have to get everything just right, from packing and distribution, to figuring out maintenance temperatures and testing the shelf life of the bottled juice. Once everything is set, we can start exporting to anywhere where there is demand for fresh juices.”

For more information:
Oscar Peña Gautreaux
Dominican Republic
T: (809) 565-1257
Instagram: @bonita_rd
Facebook: @frudep

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