Ready-to-eat Golden pineapples from Costa Rica are selling well across Europe, in the USA and in the Mediterranean markets. “For the first five months of the year prices have been stable while it has been very good on the spot market, especially in the Mediterranean,” says Jose Carlos Chaves, responsible for Commercial Sales at the Costa Rican pineapple grower and exporter Tropicales del Valle.
“The first few months of this year has been very positive. It is now, when the local spring and summer produce arrive across Europe, that we may at times, see a slight drop in the prices of pineapples. In these last few weeks, due to the high prices of local produce, the pineapple market has remained stable. It means we are having a good spot market, especially in Spain and Italy. In the north of Europe, the Netherlands and surrounding countries, we’ve seen a little bit of fluctuation over the last few weeks, but the prices still remained stable. The USA is a completely different market but it is also stable at the moment,” says Chaves.
He explains why prices of pineapples has been so stable: “The supply has been limited, due to the limitation of spaces with the shipping lines, while the demand has been constant. This has caused prices to remain stable until now, it is a natural economic behaviour, even when local production of summer fruit like stone fruit, strawberries, peaches etc. arrived. We do have some markets with lower and some with higher prices. Price wise it can be higher in Spain than in other markets. Despite the fact that over there the market can run a little bit slower in some weeks, volumes are stable. It has been very good for importers to handle the stock and markets, especially if you have good quality.”
Tropicales del Valle, with 1 400 net hectares of own production, are one of Costa Rica’s biggest growers and exporters with around 120 containers per week exported by air and ocean. They ship approximately 10 million boxes of pineapples per year.
“We also manage an important volume of air freight of ready-to-eat pineapples per week, reaching different countries of Europe and the Middle East with short transit times. And by sea, with a transit time of between 10-12 days to Spain for example, this allows the fruit to arrive in very good condition. Our production is handled in an artisanal way, from the fields to the packing station and that allows us to harvest and export high quality pineapples for 12 months of the year. This, in turn, has allowed us to achieve the consolidation of the niche markets over the years, especially in the Mediterranean,” says Chaves.
The Golden pineapple has a high colouration with higher levels of sweetness than conventional pineapples. “Our pineapples do not look green on the outside, they are completely yellow and ready-to-eat, with high sweetness levels and high brix, it is a special product from Costa Rica. When it arrives, it is ready-to-eat and is seen as a delicatessen item. The maturation process is made in the plant, we harvest, pack and send it by air and ocean. That’s our speciality. From harvest to shipping by air can take up to three days depending on the destination,” details Chaves.
He says it has been an equally difficult year for Tropicales del Valle due to the increases in the different raw materials, agrochemicals, shipping costs and delays. “It has been a hard year due to all the cost increases, especially in the ocean freight and delays. It is a perishable product that must arrive in good condition at destination with enough shelf life to reach the end consumer. We handle the increases and delays well and, at the moment, the business is running well. We’re still one of the main companies that have a good position in the international markets, especially Europe,” concludes Chaves.