On the MIN at Rungis, you can find Del Monte Extra Sweet pineapples of Kenyan origin transported by plane, as well as the Extra Sweet pineapple of Costa Rican origin sold under the exclusive brand HoneyGlow. "Del Monte is the world's leading distributor of pineapples, and particularly of the Extra Sweet variety. It is moreover the company which created this variety with the scientific name MD-2," says Antoine Guyot, of Del Monte.
On weekends, Antoine goes to work alongside his father, a greengrocer in the Champagne region, more precisely in the city of Troyes. One of the 160 fruit and vegetable products sold by Les Vergers de Saint Julien are the famous Del Monte pineapples. "My father has been working as a retailer in the Champagne region for many years. He's a real old-fashioned greengrocer who loves his products and is keen to offer quality fruit and show it off in beautiful displays, even if it means getting up very early in the morning.
Les Vergers de Saint Julien display with the Extra Sweet variety pineapples from Kenya imported by plane (top left) and the Extra Sweet pineapple variety from Costa Rica under the HoneyGlow brand shipped by boat (below)
"The increase in air freight rates doesn't affect all origins in the same way"
On the display of Les Vergers de Saint Julien, alongside HoneyGlow pineapples shipped by boat, there are also pineapples from Kenya imported by plane and sold by Del Monte. Del Monte is the only one marketing the Kenyan-sourced Extra Sweet. "It is not the same type of product at all. To give you an idea, we are paying around 11-13 Euro per box for the pineapples sent by boat, while we reach 36/38 Euro for the product sent by plane."
With the lockdown, Antoine has observed price increases linked to air freight. “During the first lockdown, air freight rates went sky high. For pineapples, for example, it reached about 4 Euro per box. But this situation is not only affecting pineapples; all imported products shipped by air have been hit. This is the case of passion fruit. Before the crisis, a box from Vietnam cost between 6 and 6.5 Euro; afterwards they have reached 9-11 Euro. The increase also depends on the frequency of flights from the country in question. For example, the pineapples shipped from Costa Rica have suffered this increase less sharply, because there are many more flights to France, whereas in Kenya there is very little transit."
"Consumption is expected to increase as the holidays approach"
As far as consumption is concerned, it is there, although it is not particularly dynamic. “At the start of the first lockdown, the demand dropped sharply; then 2 to 3 weeks later, consumption exploded. In this second lockdown, the situation is quite different; the demand is much more regulated, but the flow is not particularly dynamic. While there is no seasonality in the production of pineapples, the demand generally increases when the holiday season approaches. We therefore hope that this will be the case this year.”
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