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Specialty pineapples making progress in demand

Demand continues to be strong for the specialty varieties of pineapple that are increasingly available in the marketplace. At Melissa's/World Variety Produce, it ships several varieties of sweeter specialty pineapples from Costa Rica including Del Monte Honeyglow Pineapples, Del Monte Pinkglow Pineapples, and Precious Honeyglow Pineapples, an item that is cobranded with Del Monte and is the newest pineapple in the mix as of last month (and is also the most compact pineapple in Del Monte's history, weighing between 1.5 and 2 pounds). It is also sourcing Elephante Green Gold Pineapples from Ghana and South African Baby Pineapples.

Left to right: Honeyglow Pineapples, Precious Honeyglow Pineapples, Pinkglow Pineapples

"Supplies from Costa Rica are very good this year while supplies from Ghana are spotty but fair and from South Africa, just fair," says Robert Schueller, director of public relations, adding that all pineapple varieties are shipped year-round. "However the Elephante Green Gold Pineapples are somewhat spotty throughout the year as we introduced these to the U.S. back in fall 2023."

These specialty pineapple varieties saw high demand due to recent holidays including Easter and Passover. Schueller says with Memorial Day ahead late next month, demand should strengthen again as well.

The Elefante Green Gold Pineapples on display.

Rapidly growing category
"Pineapples overall have been the fastest growing category that we have really focused on over the last few years," says Schueller. "The specialty pineapple market enhances the category and with it, we're catering to a different market."

The different pineapple varieties also target different household sizes. "The South African Baby Pineapple is smaller than the size of your fist so it's a single-serving size while Precious Honeyglows are a perfect serving size for two people, while the common variety of pineapple is usually for four to six people," says Schueller.

Left to right: Elephante Green Gold Pineapples, South African Baby Pineapples

As for pricing, Pinkglow has three sizes available through Melissa's and since first introducing it back in the fall of 2019, pricing is decreasing thanks in part to demand increasing over the years. "Back when we introduced these, they were so new and rare, they were selling for $50 online," says Schueller, noting for the first little while they were only available online, followed by an expansion into foodservice. Since then greater supply has come on for wider distribution which has helped the price come down.

Meanwhile, for pineapples from South Africa and Ghana, pricing is a bit higher per pound versus traditional gold flesh variety from Costa Rica, adds Schueller.

Looking ahead, Schueller expects demand to increase on the year-round availability of all of its pineapple varieties–particularly on the Precious variety that's exclusively distributed by Melissa's.

For more information:
Robert Schueller
Melissa's Produce
Tel: +1-800-588-1281
[email protected]