While the reopening of restaurants and of the Ho.re.ca. sector has revamped the consumption of exotic fruits, the same cannot be said for the air freight sector.
Unlike the product that travels by sea, air freight pineapples follow separate dynamics not only in terms of logistics but also in terms of sales. We talked about this with Claudio Gorini, sales manager of AL.MA of the Gandolfo Group, an Italian company specializing in the trade of exotic products.
Pineapples shipped by sea had an average price of € 1.20 / kg throughout 2021 at the wholesale fruit a vegetable market in Milan.
"Until a few years ago, pineapples imported by air to Italy were an important product for the market and its consumption went mainstream thanks to its success in the large-scale retail trade, in restaurants, but also in specialized fruit and vegetable stores. However, more recently, this product has returned to being a commercial niche, due to the arrival of a new item that is transported by sea, the so-called pineapple ripened on the plant," said Gorini.
"AL.MA had come to import more than 60,000 cartons per year shipped by air, for a total of 600 tons in 2016, while currently we are importing a little more than 20,000 cartons for 200 tons, which we mainly distribute to wholesalers in other Italian markets, mainly in the north regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, Liguria, Emilia Romagna and in the central regions of Tuscany and Lazio,” continued the expert.
"Nevertheless, we still continue to import pineapple by air all year round and we diversify the origins to have the best and highest product quality. We import from Panama, where the quality is best in the months of April to January, but in recent days we have resumed importing from the Dominican Republic, which produces a top of the range pineapple."
"The peak of pineapple imports to Italy is the month of December, when pineapples also arrive from Ghana. The world production has by now stabilized on the MD2 variety, which has a very yellow flesh and a sweeter taste than the Smooth Cayenne variety, which has been almost discontinued. The average price of air freight pineapples at the Milan market is of €3.50/kg," concluded the manager.