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«CBI Product Factsheet: Fresh Pineapples in Europe CBI | Market Intelligence Product Factsheet Cloves in Germany | 1 Introduction Imports of fresh ...»

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CBI Product Factsheet:

Fresh Pineapples in Europe

CBI | Market Intelligence Product Factsheet Cloves in Germany | 1


Imports of fresh pineapples into the EU market have stabilised at about 900,000 tonnes in recent years. In 2014, imports

increased relative to 2012 and 2013. The main imported variety is the sweet MD2 pineapple. Major European destination

markets for fresh pineapples include Germany, the UK, Italy and Spain. The world pineapple trade is dominated by a few multinational companies: Dole Food Company, Del Monte Foods, Fyffes and Chiquita. Smaller exporters from developing countries must seek differentiation in niches, quality or price.

Product definition The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a tropical plant with edible fruit. It is a member of the Bromeliaceae family. Pineapples are indigenous to South America. Pineapple plants can withstand both drought and rainfall between 500 mm and 3,000 mm per annum. Pineapples are cultivated from a crown cutting of the fruit of the plant.

Until the mid-1990s, pineapple production and trade was dominated by the Smooth Cayenne variety, which is characterised by high sugar and acid content and which is well suited to canning. In the mid-1990s, Del Monte experimented with a new hybrid pineapple variety, MD2, which has an even sweeter taste, higher vitamin C content and longer shelf life. The MD2 variety has now replaced Smooth Cayenne pineapples as the preferred variety in every major market. Over 80% of all European imports are MD2. Most other pineapples are of the types ‘Smooth Cayenne’, ‘Sugarloaf’, and ‘Victoria’. Most pineapples for fresh consumption weigh between 1 and 2.5 kg.

Table 1: CN commodity code for fresh pineapples Number Product 08043000 Fresh or dried pineapples Source: Eurostat Comext.

Product specification Quality Pineapples are divided into three classes: Extra Class, Class I and Class II. Most pineapples sold in the European market are of Class I.

Information on the quality requirements for each class can be found in the UNECE standards for pineapples. The General Marketing Standards of Regulation (EU) No. 543/2011 apply. At the very least, pineapples should be intact, clean, sound, and practically free of pests, damage, abnormal external moisture and internal browning, in addition to being able to withstand transport and handling.

The EU quality standards in Regulation (EC) No. 1580/2007 specify that imports of fresh fruits and vegetables from third countries to the EU must conform to the EU Marketing Standards or their equivalent.

Pineapples do not ripen after harvesting. Exposure to ethylene produced by other fruits (e.g. bananas) may soften the fruit, but it will not make them any sweeter.

Size and packaging Fresh pineapples are classified according to Size Codes A to H, with average weights (including the crown) ranging from 2750 grams (Size A) to 800 grams (Size H). The minimum weight for a pineapple is 700 grams, except for some small-size varieties, which can weigh less. See Codex Alimentarius Standard for Pineapples.

Packaging requirements differ by customer and market segment. They must at least be packaged in new, clean, highquality that ensures proper protection for the produce while preventing damage to the product. Talk to your customers

about their requirements and preferences concerning packaging. General characteristics include the following:

 Wholesale packaging in carton boxes or crates: These boxes can vary in size.

 Most fresh pineapples are supplied in boxes containing 5–10 pineapples.

See also the Recommended International Code of Practice for Packaging and Transport of Tropical Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (CAC/RCP 44-1995).

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Labelling on consumer packaging must comply with the rules and regulations applying to the European market. Labels must not contain any toxic ink or glue. See the Codex General Standard for the Labelling of Prepackaged Foods (CODEX STAN 1-1985) and Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, including with regard to the labelling of pre-packaged food sold on the EU market. If the nature of the produce is not visible from the outside, the package must be labelled with the name of the product, and possibly the name of the variety and/or commercial name.

Labels for pre-packed or other fresh fruits should provide the following information:

 the name under which the product is sold;

 the product’s commercial identification: class, size (code), number of units, net weight;

 the name and address of the producer;

 the place/country of origin.

In addition, the label should include any certification logo (if applicable) and/or retailer logo (in the case of private-label products). A list of ingredients is not mandatory for fresh fruit, unless the container holds several different products, in which case the label should include a list of ingredients, as well as the quantities of each product.

For more information on labelling, packaging and quality, see also: Codex Alimentarius Standard for Pineapples or read about food labelling in the EU Export Helpdesk.

What is the demand for pineapples in Europe?

General information and figures about production and trade developments in the European market is provided in the CBI Trade Watch for Fresh Fruit and Vegetables on the CBI Market Intelligence Platform. This section provides detailed statistics on the production, trade and consumption of fresh pineapple.

Imports Figure 1: EU imports of pineapples (in 1,000 tonnes)1

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Source: Market Access Database In this Product Fact Sheet, developing countries are defined as the countries mentioned on the OECD DAC list from 2012/2013.

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Source: ITC Trademap, calculations by ICI Business Interpretations and opportunities The EU market for pineapples is supplied almost exclusively by developing countries. After a decade of rapid growth between 1995 and 2005, total imports of pineapples into the EU have stabilised at about 900 million tonnes in recent years. In 2014, imports increased modestly to 934 million tonnes, with a value of €607 million.

In 2014, Costa Rica accounted for 87% of the supply of fresh pineapples (817,000 tonnes), followed by Panama (32,000 tonnes), Ghana (24,000 tonnes) and the Ivory Coast (23,000 tonnes). Since 2010, the import of pineapples from Ecuador, Ivory Coast and Cameroon have declined, while smaller exporters (e.g. Colombia, Cuba, Israel and the Dominican Republic) are increasing their exports to Europe.

The demand for pineapples in Eastern European countries is expected to increase in the future.

The transport of fresh pineapples by sea, using reefer ships, is often combined with the banana trade. The companies that dominate the worldwide trade of bananas (Dole, Del Monte, Chiquita and Fyffes) are heavily involved in the production and trade of fresh pineapples as well. These companies operate their own plantations, packing houses, cold storage and other distribution facilities. They source additional supplies from out-growers (i.e. contract farming).

With imports amounting to 334,000 tonnes in 2014, the Netherlands is the largest importer of fresh pineapples, primarily due to its large seaports and its position as the main arrival port for large banana carriers. Many large markets (e.g. Italy, Spain and France) import directly from the country of origin. Germany is supplied primarily by the Netherlands and Belgium.

Pineapples from Costa Rica are transported by sea. Costa Rica sells almost exclusively fresh pineapples of the MD2 variety.

To complement the assortment in supermarkets, European importers buy air-transported pineapples of the Victoria, Sugarloaf and Smooth Cayenne varieties from Africa. Ghana also supplies a small quantity of MD2 pineapples.

Although the MD2 variety has been dominant in recent years, there are opportunities for other varieties that cater to special tastes or needs (e.g. baby pineapples or extra-sweet varieties). Air-transported pineapples of varieties other than MD2 are required primarily when demand is high and sea transport takes too long.


 Try to avoid competition with the dominant pineapple companies, Dole, Del Monte, Chiquita and Fyffes.

Focus on niche markets (e.g. socially responsible fruit, environmentally friendly production, organic) or specialties (e.g. baby pineapples).

 To avoid the fierce competition of the market for fresh pineapple, consider focussing on new markets, on the few growing markets or on niche markets.

 If you have difficulty distinguishing your product or if you lack marketing strength, consider joining a multinational operation.

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Source: ITC Trademap, calculations by ICI Business Interpretations and opportunities In 2014, the total European export volume of pineapples amounted to 446,000 tonnes. The vast majority (406,000 tonnes) of these pineapples were destined for markets within the EU. The Netherlands and Belgium are the leading reexporters, with export volumes of 216,000 and 125,000 tonnes, respectively.

The Netherlands and Belgium together supplied 77% of the German demand for pineapples in 2014, thus making Germany the principal destination for these countries.

Total export volumes of pineapples by EU countries have decreased in recent years, declining from 575,000 tonnes in 2010 to 446,000 tonnes in 2014. In combination with increased imports, this decline is a good indication that the trade in pineapples is becoming more direct.

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Source: FAOSTAT Interpretations and opportunities Worldwide pineapple production has been rising slightly in recent years. In 2014, production amounted to nearly 25 million tonnes. Given the maturity and stability of the market for pineapples, no major growth in production is anticipated for the near future.

Costa Rica, Brazil, the Philippines and Thailand are the world’s leading producers of pineapples. Together, they produce about 10 million tonnes annually (accounting for 40% of all pineapples worldwide). Costa Rica is the principal supplier for Europe. Brazil and Thailand do not export any significant quantities of pineapples, and the Philippines focuses on supplying markets in Asia and the Middle East.

Production in Costa Rica is organised predominantly by large multinational companies. Costa Rica’s production is still increasing, and yields are high (approximately 56 tonnes per hectare).

In the EU, Portugal is the only country that produces pineapple, although its production volumes of close to 3,500 tonnes are negligible compared to that of the major producing countries.


 Define your quantitative position by comparing production and yield statistics for pineapples, see:

http://faostat.fao.org  Always be prepared for changes in the European market. Because Europe depends heavily on the supply of pineapples from Costa Rica, opportunities can arise suddenly if Costa Rica becomes unable to deliver.

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Sources: FAOSTAT, ITC Trademap; calculations by ICI Business Interpretations and opportunities  Germany, Italy, the UK and Spain are the largest consumer markets for pineapples in the EU. These four countries are responsible for almost 60% of the 940,000 tonnes consumed in the EU.

 Consumption of fresh tropical fruit is expected to increase somewhat further in the future, as the EU economy has started to recover from the economic slowdown of recent years. Given the changing consumption patterns and increasing incomes in Eastern EU member states, these markets are expected to grow as well.

 Consumers in Western Europe prefer the smaller-sized pineapples. Large retailers are increasingly selling individual portions of freshly cut pineapple. The right flavour and sweetness are important to consumers throughout Europe.


 Make sure that you are supplying the right type and quality in order to fulfil the requirements for European retailers and fresh processing.

Which trends offer opportunities on the European market for pineapples?

The CBI Trend mapping provides information on general trends in the European market for fresh fruits and vegetables.

This section provides details about specific trends in the market for fresh pineapples.

From difficult to convenient products:

Many consumers regard fresh pineapples as a difficult product with a medium to high price. In general, price tends to be less of an issue than the difficulty of preparing the fruit. Supermarkets are increasingly facilitating consumers by selling special peeling tools or by offering freshly cut pineapple in consumer packages. Fresh pre-cut pineapple has found a significant consumer group in Northern Europe, and ‘baby pineapples’ are developing new market potential. In the southern part of Europe, more time is spent on eating and food preparation, and this is favourable for suppliers of fresh whole pineapples.


 Select the varieties that are easy to cut, and add consumer information about peeling and cutting.

Flavour is important:

The flavour of the product is of crucial importance. Because fresh pineapples do not ripen after being picked, the flavour and sweetness of the fruit is an important selection criterion for buyers. European consumers have a preference for sweet pineapples with juicy flesh. Although the MD2 variety is the most popular, opportunities exist for other varieties, which are

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 Make sure to supply pineapples that are harvested with the right ripeness and flavour.

Growing interest in sustainable fruit:

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