Manning said Rosemont, which was purchased by logistics company C.H. Robinson last fall, hopes to double its current volume over the next year. Rosemont imports pineapples from its own farm and from other independent growers in Costa Rica, with a little from Panama, he said.
While demand may be good and the economy improving, shrinking profit margins have forced companies to change the way they do business, said Elizabeth Inglese, commodity manager for pineapples with Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif.
“Large-volume purchasing from a retail perspective has slowed down, so we as a distributor have to maximize on efficiencies, which takes a lot more planning,” said Inglese, who brings in pineapples from Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala and Hawaii.
“We have to communicate more with growers to make sure they know what we can move out here,” she said.
“I also have to know what they’re looking to harvest, then let retailers know what kind of volumes we’re going to have in the next three to four weeks.”
Consistent pricing needed
When it comes to marketing pineapples, Bill Sheridan, vice president of sales and marketing for Banacol, Coral Gables, said the shortfalls and surges in volume of the last few years haven’t been good for the industry.
This year, he said he’s working to come up with a consistent everyday price that doesn’t vary dramatically from the promotional price.
“We’re still going to promote pines,” Sheridan said, “but it concerns me that some retailers put them on sale for $2.99 then back up to a regular price of $5.99.”