World Variety Produce Inc.’s South African Baby Pineapples
World Variety Produce Inc.’s South African Baby Pineapples

Small, super-sweet pineapples add interest to a tropical section, and the 3-inch-tall fruit are available throughout the year.

World Variety Produce Inc., Los Angeles, has a consistent year-round supply of South African Baby Pineapples, also called Queen Victoria Pineapples, said Robert Schueller, director of public relations. The fruit, which is about fist-sized, has gold skin and is extra sweet. In fact, they are the sweetest pineapples the company carries for national distribution, Schueller said.

The Baby Pineapples seem to taste sweeter than the traditional-sized gold pineapples, Schueller said. The brix levels are similar, but they are less acidic, which might make them taste sweeter.

Like personal- size watermelons, small pineapple varieties appeal to smaller households, Schueller said. A baby pineapple is just right for one serving. It’s also easy to eat because the core is edible.

Frieda’s Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif., markets its baby pineapples from South Africa as Zululand Queen Baby Pineapples.

Frieda’s promotes the fruit’s intense sweetness and its edible core, said Hazel Kelly, client promotions manager.

Baby pineapples have been available in the U.S. for more than a decade, but they’re still not found in every retail market, Schueller said.

“It’s definitely a growing market in regards to awareness,” he said.

Some retailers stock them regularly, but others carry them only during holiday periods, when they are likely to be promoting regular-sized pineapples. Pineapple has become associated with many major holidays, including Easter, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, Schueller said.

“It’s not because (the pineapples) are more available then, but they tend to be promoted more then,” he said.

Consumers drive the demand for pineapples at holidays, especially during the spring and summer, Schueller said.

Organic pineapples

Melissa’s also markets a good volume of organic gold pineapple, most of which is grown in Costa Rica, Schueller said.

The company has shipped organic gold pineapple for more than eight years, and demand for it continues to grow slowly but surely, Schueller said.

As natural food retailers become stronger in the marketplace, demand for organic produce grows.

Natural food retailers are more likely to stock organic pineapples throughout the year than are traditional retailers, Schueller said.

Bil Goldfield, communications manager, Dole Fresh Fruit Co., Westlake Village, Calif., said organic and Fair Trade pineapples represent two growing market segments for the company. Dole sources both from Costa Rica.