CBI Product Factsheet: Fresh Pineapples in Europe

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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. 

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. 

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