Business updates: Pineapple Marketing - The Packer

Business updates: Pineapple Marketing

02/05/2010 01:44:24 PM
Cynthia David

Edinburgh, Texas-based Frontera Produce plans to increase gold pineapple production at its farms in Veracruz, Mexico, by close to 40% through July.

“With the great demand and feedback from customers we had last year, we decided to plant the same increase for this season,” said Ken Nabal, Frontera’s vice president of sales and logistics.

The growth in production makes Frontera one of the largest exporters of Mexican gold pineapples to the U.S.
Nabal said the vertically integrated grower, packer and shipper is also looking to expand its production in Costa Rica in the next few years.

Frontera is also rolling out educational and promotional initiatives via its Web site, Facebook and Twitter.

By the end of March, Frontera’s redesigned Web site should be up, offering a more consumer-focused and less trade-heavy approach.

North American Produce feels market’s pressure

One distributor who’s not happy with the pineapple deal is Steven Davidson, vice president of family-owned North American Produce Buyers Inc. in Toronto, and a major importer.

“When I started on the deal 10 years ago, I used to make a steady $10 a case,” said Davidson, who brings in six to eight loads a week of Costa Rican pineapples under three brand names for the city’s high-end retailers.

“Now, it’s got to the point where I have to look at the end of the year and see if I’m going to lose money,” said Davidson, who works on contract pricing.

“It has become a major headache.”

Even the Christmas season, which is traditionally big, was a disappointment, he said.

“We were jammed with business, but not on pines.”

Davidson blames the tough market on “too much production, too much volume being brought into Canada and too many guys involved in the deal who don’t handle it properly.”

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