Supplies of pineapple continue to be tight. “This is the case across the board with all suppliers,” says Stefanie Katzman, Executive Vice President, S. Katzman Produce. “Supplies tightened up in early to mid-December and suppliers expect it to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Of course, they’re hopeful, but it depends upon the weather.”
Katzman says new varieties of pineapple, including the Pinkglow pineapple here, are gaining popularity with consumers.
The slim supplies seem to be a result of a few factors including weather issues in Costa Rica, where the majority of supplies come from year-round. However, shortages of fertilizer earlier on in the season have also contributed to the lack of supply. “We’re getting Mexican pineapples right now as well to help fulfill demand,” says Katzman.
Pricing affecting demand
As for demand, it’s steady. “When pricing increases, demand usually falls off,” says Katzman, adding that earlier in the season when there was more unknown about the supply issue, demand was higher but has since settled. “I think demand will stay steady until we have a change in supply.”
Frank Pistone, salesperson at S. Katzman Produce, showing a Del Monte Honeyglow pineapple.
Indeed, pricing currently is up approximately 40 percent over last year at this time. “We’ve seen a little bit of price fluctuation but really it was more driven by demand since supplies were short this season,” adds Katzman.
Despite supply challenges for the pineapple category, there have also been exciting advancements with niche items focusing on flavor says Katzman--namely the Honeyglow pineapple and the Pinkglow pineapple. Both products are slightly sweeter, slightly less acidic and uniquely colored. The Pinkglow pineapple is, as it sounds, pink while the Honeyglow has a more honey-golden color outside and in, making it easier to tell when it’s ripe. “While the pink is still more of a niche item, the Honeyglow has become popular and mainstream. We have retailers that carry either the Honeyglows or both pineapples because consumers are willing to pay more,” adds Katzman, though she notes that the same supply issues are being seen within this part of the category as well.