Pablo Jimenez, marketing manager, Mexican Pineapple Exporters Association (AMEP), said the organization is growing.
“We are continuing to gather Mexican pineapple exporters in our association and we are encouraging them to get all of the certifications needed to export to other markets aside from the U.S.,” he said in.
Jimenez said he has hopes of increasing the percentage of Mexican pineapples in the U.S.
He aims to get distributors and stores to recognize Mexican fruit is comparable in quality of that from Costa Rica, he said, although prices have affected the organization’s success in expanding its presence in the U.S. market.
To help with this process, Jimenez said the association will continue to integrate vertically.
“We already have members that have distributing facilities in the U.S. so we can lower our costs, but we need to improve our costs and our competitive position against Costa Rica,” he said.
Jimenez said retailers need to understand the product, which is another major effort.
“We don’t understand why Costa Rican pineapples are often priced higher than ours,” he said.
Jimenez also wants retailers to understand that the association helps maintain a high degree of quality and food safety for Mexican pineapples.
“Any other exporter from Mexico that is not part of AMEP doesn’t fulfill FDA requirements,” he said.
As far as reaching consumers, Jimenez is confident the taste of their product will win buyers.
“Consumers look for freshness and quality mainly. We meet both of their demands,” he said.
“Our challenge relies more in having stores and distributors carrying Mexican pineapple so it can be available for the consumer.”
To do this, Jimenez said he wants to continue to educate the produce suppliers.
Jimenez believes that by increasing the awareness of produce suppliers for Mexican pineapple, they should have fresher product.
“This would also benefit their clients and consumers because shelf life would be longer,” he said.