Del Monte Gold

Del Monte is set to capitalise on soaring pineapple sales with the introduction of two canned products made with a “naturally sweeter” variety of the fruit.

The brand’s premium Gold range will launch in mid-May in cans containing pineapple chunks and slices with juice (rsp: £1.30/435g). The range is the first tinned SKU for the variety, which was developed by Del Monte in the 1990s.

With quadruple the amount of vitamin C found in standard Smooth Cayenne pineapples, the Gold hybrid variety was also softer in texture, according to Del Monte, while a longer growing time meant smaller volumes were harvested, allowing it to command a premium price tag.

The new SKUs feature black and gold packaging to give them a “stylish and premium” feel designed to stand out on shelves, and would appeal to a new demographic of consumer, said Martin Tilney, Fresh Del Monte’s UK and Ireland commercial director.

“We’ve also ensured that the communication of the ‘new variety’ and ‘naturally sweeter’ is very clear on pack so consumers understand exactly what this new product offers them,” he added. “We’re confident that Gold will attract a wider and younger audience who may not have previously considered purchasing canned fruit and who appreciate the use of ‘something special’ for key moments and occasions.”

It comes as sales of canned pineapple grew 5% at Tesco in the year to March 2018, with sales of pineapple products rising 15% overall on the previous year, overtaking growth in avocados.

The UK launch of canned Gold products adds to the range of juices, tinned and whole fruit products available under the Gold sub brand in the UK, Europe and US.

“Previously, pineapple quality varied in the winter months; with greater acidity and a tarter taste. Now with our own Gold variety, picked ripe and ready to eat for optimal results, the best taste and quality experience is ensured all year round,” Tinley added.

The launch follows news, also this week, that Del Monte had signed a three-year partnership with the Lawn Tennis Association that will see the brand’s canned, juice and fresh fruit ranges sampled at a series of pre-Wimbledon tournaments including Queen’s and Edgbaston.

It will also advertise at all LTA tournaments, predicting an audience of around 12.5 million between tournament attendees and TV viewers. The brand will run themed promotions on cartons of its fruit juice and prepared fruit pots offering 300 sports equipment prizes and a family holiday.