The Top 5 Countries that Import the Most Pineapples

  Country Pineapple Imports 2008
(metric tonnes)
Pineapple Imports 2004
(metric tonnes)
Percent Change
1 United States 713,584 m/t 513,760 m/t + 38.89 %
2 Belgium 309,156 m/t 213,551 m/t + 44.76 %
3 Netherlands 228,079 m/t 61,162 m/t + 272.91 %
4 Germany 173,060 m/t 87,504 m/t + 97.77 %
5 Italy 149,255 m/t 99,519 m/t + 49.97 %
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 Special Report
  1. Since the 1960's, pineapple production has quadrupled and export has tripled worldwide. Dole and Del Monte, through their subsidiaries, compete as the largest global suppliers of both fresh and processed pineapple as both operate plantations, distribution centres, and processing facilities all over the world. Dole and Del Monte have also been expanding their operations through the purchasing and leasing of new land for pineapple production. Dole's subsidiary, Dole Philippines dominates the pineapple industry in the Philippines, while Fresh Del Monte's subsidiary, PINDECO, dominates Costa Rican fresh pineapple production.
  2. Since 1960, pineapple production worldwide has risen by 400%. With the introduction of the "Gold" variety, developed and patented by Fresh Del Monte in the 1990's, the production of pineapple has grown again by nearly 50% since 1998. The world fresh/juice/canned pineapple trade has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. One pineapple in two is now grown for sale on the export market. With an increased consumer demand for fresh pineapple and juice totalling nearly 30 billion pounds a year, the pineapple export industry has developed into a complex supply chain. Historically, Hawaii was the world's largest pineapple producer and source for US pineapples. The pineapple variety that has gained enormous popularity over the last 10 years, known as Del Monte Gold, Dole's Gold MD-2, and the Maui Pineapple Company's Hawaiian Gold, was first engineered in the Pineapple Research Institute of Hawaii in the 1970's. All canned pineapple production in Hawaii has halted in recent years, due to cheaper production costs elsewhere. However, fresh pineapple can still be produced at a profit for sale in Japan, the West Coast US, and for local consumption. There are currently two fresh pineapple operations left in Hawaii, one on Maui and one on Oahu.
  3. Costa Rica was the world's number one exporter of fresh pineapples in 2008. Its total value of pineapple exports grew from $142 million USD in 2001 to $484.5 million USD in 2007. From 2006 to 2007 alone, there was a 12% increase in exports. The US now imports 90% of its pineapple from Costa Rica. Pineapples are now Costa Rica's second biggest agricultural export after bananas (which replaced coffee as the primary agricultural export in the 1990s). However, the total value of pineapple exports is on track to overtake the total value of banana exports. The United States dominates most of the fresh pineapple market and about the same amount of the canned pineapple and pineapple juice markets as the European Union. European Union countries constitute much of the remaining demand for fresh pineapples. Three quarters of traded pineapple is in the form of canned products or juice. Not surprisingly, the US dominates the import market, though Europe's market is rapidly growing. Between 1999 and 2006, both markets have doubled their imports. The Central American arm of Wal-Mart, Agro-industrial Development of Wal- Mart Central America, announced in April of 2006 that it will directly export pineapples to the US. Wal-Mart recently gained control of one of the largest supermarket groups in Central America, Central American Retail Holding Co. which owns most major supermarket chains.
  4. Dole Food Company, Inc. (Dole) is the second largest global producer of fresh pineapples worldwide, and the world's largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit. Dole also markets fresh vegetables, fresh-cut flowers, and packaged foods. In 2004, Dole owned and operated on over 150,000 acres of land around the world. In 2007, Dole had net revenue of $6,171.5 million and made $89 million in profits. Dole sells over 200 products and operates in over 90 countries (with a presence on each continent) and has approximately 45,000 employees. Dole is a wholly owned private company belonging to David H. Murdock who is one of the richest men in the world. Dole is vertically integrated, so it controls production, packaging, export, shipping, import, and ripening of its fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2004, Dole sold over 25 million boxes of pineapple worldwide. Pineapples were eight percent of the company's fresh fruit revenues in 2007. The company reports that its pineapples are cultivated on a mixture of Dole's farms, leased land, and independent farms in Latin America (mostly Costa Rica), Philippines, Thailand, and other places. Dole owns approximately 6,600 acres of land in Honduras, 7,300 acres of land in Costa Rica and 3,000 acres of land in Ecuador, all related to pineapple production, although some of the land is not presently under production.
  5. Fresh Del Monte claims to be the number one marketer of fresh pineapples worldwide. The "Del Monte Gold Extra Sweet" pineapple gave it approximately 35% of the global market share in 2007. Similar to Dole, Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc. is a vertically integrated producer, marketer and distributor of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, prepared fruits and vegetables, beverages, and snacks under the "Del Monte" brand. Originally part of Del Monte Corporation, in 1989 the company split into Del Monte Foods and Fresh Del Monte Produce (first named Del Monte Tropical Fruit). In 1996, the Abu Ghazaleh family from Jordan purchased controlling interest and incorporated the company in the Cayman Islands. The Abu Ghazaleh family currently owns 51.9% of Fresh Del Monte Produce. Del Monte transferred the bulk of its operations from Hawaii to Costa Rica in 1996 after the development of the popular MD-2 variety. This move was subsidized by the Costa Rican government which paid Del Monte $24 million from 1997-1999. Fresh Del Monte sources its products mainly from Central and South America, Africa, and the Philippines, from company-owned farms, joint venture arrangements and contracts with independent growers. The Pineapple Development Corporation (PINDECO), a subsidiary of Fresh Del Monte,24 produces at least 50% of Costa Rica's pineapples and owns approximately 37,000 acres of land for pineapple production. In 2007, Fresh Del Monte had a net revenue (in millions) of $3,365.5 and profits (in millions) of $179.8. Fresh Del Monte owns 11,800 acres in Brazil for pineapple, melon, and banana cultivation. It leases 9,200 acres in Kenya for pineapple production, and leases 8,900 for bananas and pineapples in the Philippines, in addition to its land in Costa Rica. In an effort to expand its market share in the industry, Fresh Del Monte bought the Costa Rican group, Caribana, in 2008 for $400 million dollars, which included Desarollo Agroindustrial de Frutales, S.A. ("Frutales"), a producer of bananas; Frutas de Exportacion, S.A. ("Frutex"), a major provider of gold pineapples; and an affiliated sales and marketing company. Caribana owns three large plantations and has one of the two largest plantations in Costa Rica.
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. International Labor Rights Forum. (2008). "The Sour Taste of Pineapple: How an Expanding Export Industry Undermines Workers and Their Communities". Pages 1-15. Retrieved Nov, 2010.
Tags: Crops, Top 5 Most, Imports & Exports

Sources:  FAOSTAT data 2008 (last accessed by www.Top5of Nov 24th, 2010)

List Notes: Imports are pineapple imports in metric tonnes for the year 2008. Please note: percent change is calculated for the years 2004 and 2008 exclusively and is not an aggregate.
Countries that Import the Most Pineapples

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