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JP Tropical taps grocery channels to boost pineapple sales

Published:Wednesday | June 17, 2015 | 12:01 AMTameka Gordon

JP Tropical Foods, a division of Jamaica Producers Group, is selling more pineapples as fresh fruit through grocery stores, having doubled the acreage under cultivation for the crop.

Previously, JP Tropical only supplied the hospitality market and sold to vendors who then sell to consumers.

"We had done some sales to supermarkets last year, but we were less consistent with our supplies, so we didn't make a lot of noise about it," said General Manager Neil Crum-Ewing.

"But we are getting to the point where pour volumes require us to pursue more retail and wholesale business," Crum-Ewing said.

Consistent supply

He said the company is aiming for consistent year-round supply of the fruit, which is generally seasonally available between April and June each year.

JP Tropical estimates its pineapples have penetrated about 60 per cent of the grocery market and that volume supplies are up by 50 per cent. The company grows the fruit on its farms in St Mary. Each pineapple crop takes around 14 months to mature.

It will take about three more years to achieve projected production volumes, the company said, but did not disclose the target.

JP Tropical has a "pretty small share" of the hospitality market, Crum-Ewing said.

"While this market channel has been one of the largest purchasers of JP pineapples since we started the pineapple project, we have tremendous growth opportunity as we execute our plan to make pineapples more available year round," he said.

JP Tropical also produces and sells ripe bananas through grocery channels and streetside vendors.