Pineapple is a tropical plant with edible fruit and is the most economically significant plant in the family Bromeliaceae. The pineapple is indigenous to South America, where it has been cultivated for many centuries.
The introduction of the pineapple to Europe in the 17th century made it a significant cultural icon of luxury. Since the 1820s, pineapple has been commercially grown in greenhouses and many tropical plantations. Further, it is the third most important tropical fruit in world production.
In the 20th century, Hawaii was a dominant producer of pineapples, especially for the US; however, by 2016, Costa Rica, Brazil, and the Philippines accounted for nearly one-third of the world’s production of pineapples.
Top importers of pineapple are:
- United States
Top exporters of pineapple are:
- Costa Rica
- United States
Pineapples grow as small shrubs; the individual flowers of the unpollinated plant fuse to form multiple fruits. The plant is normally propagated from the offset produced at the top of the fruit, or from a side shoot, and typically matures within a year.
World’s Top Pineapple Importing And Exporting Countries
Pineapple plants can mostly be found in Latin America and West Africa. In Europe, the majority of pineapples in the global market come from Costa Rica, which supplies 75 percent of the pineapples found in the EU. The Costa Rican tropical fruit export market was valued at 1.22 billion dollars in 2015.
In recent years, the world pineapple market has expanded rapidly, with production increasing by nearly 50 percent since 1998. According to FAO statistics, pineapples are the 11th most cultivated fruit, with over 24.8 million tonnes being produced in 2013.
The growing pineapple market is due in part to the popularity of the new Sweet’ or Gold pineapple variety which is bigger, has a high sugar content, appealing taste, and color, and is consistent in quality. This variety has sold well since Del Monte launched the first Gold pineapple on supermarket shelves in 1992. The other major fruit companies followed suit.
Most exported pineapples are grown by banana-producing companies, often on former banana plantations, employing the same workers and using the same transport and distribution networks. Large-scale pineapple production has the same environmentally damaging effects as banana production, and workers also face social and economic difficulties.
The majority of fresh pineapples sold on the world market are produced in Latin America, with 84 percent grown in Costa Rica. The majority of production is on large-scale, monoculture plantations owned by a small number of national and multinational fruit companies.
The Del Monte fruit company and its subsidiaries produce over 50 percent of Costa Rica’s pineapple exports. Smaller producers do exist, but many are facing high debts and bankruptcy.
Whilst the major fruit companies such as Del Monte, Dole, Fyffes, and Chiquita used to dominate the world pineapple supply chain, the last 10 years have seen a rise in the influence of major retailers.
Like any large-scale production, the pineapple industry is also responsible for significant environmental damage in producer countries. However, some examples of better social and environmental practices can be seen within the industry, particularly in the case of small Fairtrade and Organic certified producers in the northern region of Costa Rica. On the other hand, these small producers represent a minority in an industry that is dominated by large-scale, conventional production controlled by a handful of powerful fruit companies.
Pineapple is the second fruit harvest of importance after bananas, contributing to over 20 percent of the world’s production of tropical fruits. Nearly 70 percent of the pineapple is consumed as fresh fruit in producing countries. Its origin has been traced to Brazil and Paraguay in the Amazon basin where the fruit was domesticated
Costa Rica, Brazil, Thailand, the Philippines, and China are the main pineapple producers in the world supplying 52 percent of the total output. Other important producers include India, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia, Mexico, and Costa Rica and these countries provide most of the remaining fruit available which is about 48 percent. Since 1960, pineapple production worldwide has risen by 400 percent. With the introduction of the Gold variety, developed and patented by Fresh Del Monte in the 1990s, the production of pineapple has grown again by nearly 50 percent since 1998.
The world pineapple trade has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. One pineapple in two is now grown for sale on the export market. With increased consumer demand for fresh pineapple and juice totaling nearly 30 billion pounds a year, the pineapple export industry has developed into a complex supply chain.
Twelve countries absorb over 90 percent of the world’s demand for fresh pineapple. The US leads the demand and France, Japan, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Canada, Spain, England, Korea, Netherlands and Singapore share the rest of the supply. Pineapples dominate the world trade of tropical fruits, although other fruits have gained market share. Statistics from the year 2000 indicate that the pineapple trade took 51 percent from a total of 2.1 million tons of the whole fruit market with mangoes taking second place, with 21.7 percent.
Top Pineapple Producing Countries:
With 3,328,100 tonnes, Costa Rica is ranked number 1 in pineapple production, the country accounts for 13.13 percent of total world Pineapple production. With 2,747,856 tonnes, the Philippines is ranked the second-largest producer of pineapple, the country accounts for 9.75 percent of total world Pineapple production. Brazil is ranked third with 2,426,526 tonnes, the country accounts for 8.61 percent of total world Pineapple production. With 2,196,456 tonnes Indonesia is the fourth largest pineapple producing country, the country accounts for 7.79 percent of total world Pineapple production. China is the fifth-largest producer with 1,727,607 tonnes, China accounts for 6.13 percent of total world Pineapple production. Other top producers include India, Thailand Nigeria, Mexico, and Colombia. The top 10 producing countries account for 69.33% of global production.
Top Pineapple consuming countries:
The countries with the highest volumes of pineapple consumption in 2018 were the Philippines with 2.3 million tonnes, Thailand with 2.1 million tonnes, and Indonesia with 1.8 million tonnes, with a combined 53 percent share of total consumption. These countries were followed by India, China, Vietnam, and Taiwan, which together accounted for a further 38 percent.
From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of pineapple consumption, among the main consuming countries, was attained by China, while pineapple consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.
In value terms, the largest pineapple markets in Asia were Thailand with 3 Billion Dollars, China with 2.2 Billion Dollars, and the Philippines with 1.9 Billion Dollars, with a combined 59 percent share of the total market. These countries were followed by India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Taiwan, Chinese, which together accounted for a further 34 percent.
The countries with the highest levels of pineapple per capita consumption in 2018 were Thailand with 30 kilograms per person, the Philippines with 21 kilograms per person, and Taiwan with 17 kilograms per person.
From 2013 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of pineapple per capita consumption, among the main consuming countries, was attained by China, while pineapple per capita consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.
Top Pineapple Importing countries:
Worldwide purchases of imported pineapples cost a total of 2.44 billion dollars in 2020.
Overall, the value of pineapples imports flatlined decreasing by minus 0.8 percent for all importing countries since 2016 when international purchases of pineapples were valued at 2.46 billion dollars.
From 2019 to 2020, imported pineapples depreciated by minus 9.8 percent.
The top 5 global buyers United States, Netherlands, China, Japan, and Spain purchased over half of 54.3 percent of all pineapples imported during 2020.
From a continental perspective, buyers in European countries bought the highest dollar worth of imported pineapples in 2020 with purchases valued at 1.1 billion dollars or 46.6 percent of the global total. In second place were North American importers at 33.1 percent while 18.2 percent of pineapples imported from international markets went to Asia.
Smaller percentages of 1.3 percent were delivered to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Africa got 0.5 percent and Oceania got 0.3 percent led by New Zealand.
Among the above countries, there were 2 growth markets for pineapples from 2019 to 2020 namely the United States which was up by 0.4 percent, and Japan up by 0.1 percent.
Those countries that posted declines in their imported pineapples purchases were led by: China which was down by minus 25.8 percent, United Arab Emirates down by minus 24.4 percent, Portugal down by 19.5 percent, and South Korea which was down by minus 17.8 percent.
Top Pineapple Exporting Countries:
Global sales for pineapples exports by country totaled U2.1 billion dollars in 2020.
Overall, the value of exported pineapples increased by an average of 8.2 percent for all exporting countries since 2016 when pineapples shipments were valued at 1.9 billion dollars.
Year over year, the value of globally exported pineapples fell by minus 5.5 percent from 2019 to 2020.
The top 5 exporters Costa Rica, Philippines, Netherlands, United States, and Belgium generated just over three-quarters of 76 percent of all globally exported pineapples in 2020.
Among continents, Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean generated the highest dollar worth in international sales of pineapples during 2020 with shipments valued at 1.1 billion dollars or over half which is 53.2 percent of the worldwide total. In second place were Asian exporters at 18.8 percent while 18.5 percent of total shipments of the sweet fruit originated from Europe.
Smaller percentages came from North America with 5.3 percent, Africa with 4.3 percent then Oceania with 0.007 percent notably New Zealand and Australia.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing pineapples exporters from 2019 to 2020 were: Guatemala which was up by 258.1 percent, Ghana up by 216.1 percent, Ivory Coast up by 145.2 percent, and Honduras up by 48.7 percent.
Those countries that posted declines in their exported pineapples sales were led by: Portugal which was down by minus 34.7 percent, Belgium down by minus 29.5 percent, Spain down by minus 26.7 percent, Mexico down by minus 16.2 percent, and Taiwan down by minus 14.6 percent.
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Costa Rica accounts for nearly one-third of the world’s production of pineapples. The top 10 producing countries account for 69.33% of global production. Europe bought the highest dollar worth of pineapple imports valued at 1.1 billion dollars in 2016.
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