For years, avocados have been viewed as the fruit à la mode. But according to the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco, pineapple sales growth is now outstripping avocado demand growth by around half as much again.
“We are currently seeing 10% growth over the last year for avocados while [fresh] pineapples are growing at nearly 15%,” Tesco buyer Morgan Jaquemet told FoodNavigator.
Expanding category reach
According to Jaquemet, the versatility of pineapples is one of the primary factors underpinning expansion. “Demand for pineapples is growing because of the fruit’s great versatility in main dishes and desserts as well as a healthy snacking food,” Jaquemet suggested.
Consumers are using whole pineapples as ingredients and demand for the fresh fruit is being boosted by cook-at-home trends as well as growing interest in better-for-you options. Pineapples are gaining increasing recognition as a healthy choice delivering "good" levels of vitamin C and contributing to the five-a-day fruit and veg consumption guidance.
“We are listening to our customers and have recently chosen to develop pineapples as a snacking food and this is proving a great success,” Jaquemet noted. “We’ve been focused on making it easy for our customers to enjoy this fruit.”
This has been achieved by expanding ready to eat snacking lines that deliver on health and convenience.
Tesco is also witnessing increased pineapple sales in adjacent categories outside the produce aisle. The group has responded by rolling out product development that utilises pineapple as an ingredient.
Pineapple is therefore proving a rising star across other areas of the food and beverage spectrum, the supermarket operator suggested.
In the last year, Tesco has seen sales of pineapple juice up by more than 20%; Hawaiian pizzas (which Tesco described as “the most divisive of pizzas”) are up by more than 15%; snacking pineapple fingers are up by 30%; and even tinned pineapple chunk sales have risen up by 5%.
‘Fruit of the moment’
Jaquemet said that pineapples have become “the fruit taste of the moment” and could soon rival the avocado as a “once niche fruit suddenly gaining mainstream popularity”.
“In the last few years we have seen demand jump because of the fruit’s rising popularity as a versatile and healthy food – it’s even made its way onto the BBQ in the summer months now. Last year we even sold pineapples at Halloween as a rival to the pumpkin for kids to carve into a scary face.”
In the last two years pineapple production in Costa Rica, the leading supplier of the fruit to Europe and the US, has increased by nearly 10%.