DEL MONTE Philippines, Inc. (DMPI) increased its fresh pineapple export sales to P5.85 billion in April of this year as a result of a greater market share in China.

According to the firm, its fresh pineapple export sales for April 2021 would be 37% more than the P4.2 billion it earned in April 2019.

“China is DMPI’s main driver of growth in North Asian markets, with an import volume of 182 million kilos last year, and China’s import of fresh pineapples increased at a compounded annual growth rate of 18 percent from 2015 to 2020,” the firm said in a statement on Thursday.

According to DMPI, based on a report by analytics and consulting firm GlobalData, the company is the largest fresh pineapple exporter to China, accounting for 53% of its market in 2020, as well as being among the top three fresh pineapple suppliers in Japan and South Korea, accounting for 33% and 21% market shares, respectively.

The MD2 cultivar is the favored pineapple in the fresh market, according to DMPI, owing to its longer shelf life, reduced acidity, and superior look. MD2 now accounts for 28 percent of its 26,000-hectare plantation, according to the company.

“DMPI’s fresh pineapple exports account for a significant portion of its branded business. Its MD2 variant is mainly marketed in China, Japan, and South Korea under the S&W Sweet 16 brand. “Chinese customers choose reputable brands such as S&W, for which they are prepared to pay a premium,” said Liu Zhijie, owner of Goodfarmer Foods Holding Group Co., Ltd.

Goodfarmer Foods, one of the largest fresh produce distribution companies in China, is DMPI’s main distributor in China.

Meanwhile, DMPI intends to capitalize on China’s strong demand by adding additional distributors who will serve retail locations throughout the nation.

“The firm wants to quadruple its fresh pineapple retail distribution network, which presently includes about 15,000 locations, by 2025,” DMPI said.

Moving ahead, DMPI said that it intends to grow its acreage for MD2 pineapples, enhance operational efficiency, and strengthen commercial relationships in order to expand its branded company and stay competitive in the market.

“DMPI is one of the three largest exporters of MD2 pineapple in Asia due to the convergence of natural conditions that are uniquely abundant in the Philippines, complemented by extensive human and technological resources, and enterprising commercial acumen and business leadership that have enabled DMPI to deliver premium quality pineapples through its business partners,” the company stated.

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