Hagé International is seeing an increasing interest in the crownless pineapple concept, but as yet has not switched its focus away from crowned pineapples dut to retail demand and a lack of stable availability.
The group's pineapple and melon account manager Frank Ocampo told Eurofruit that while several importers are specialising in crownless pineapples, particularly in the UK, Hagé continues to focus on crowned fruit because of its retail-oriented strategy and the fact that consumers are still keen to purchase crowned pineapples.
"We see advantages for growers who prefer to pack and sell these crownless pines," Ocampo explained. "Not only does this help them to avoid quality problems in the crown, but more importantly they can export more fruit per container, which could be an advantage for the whole supply chain."
This, coupled with a growing interest from the food processing industry in Europe, makes Hagé confident that crownless pineapples could see future growth – but for now, stable availability of the fruit in an issue.
"Only a few growers are big enough to produce and commit themselves to a constant volume of high quality crownless pineapples each week," Ocampo continued. "This is quite an exercise since these specifications are getting stricter day by day.
"All these factors make this business segment an opportunity and a threat at the same time," he adds. "At Hagé International we did some trials with crowless pineapples in the last year, but so far we have not seen a big increase in overall sales."
For the full interview with Frank Ocampo, see the July issue of Eurofruit Magazine