- The pineapple plant is indigenous to South America and is said to originate from the area between southern Brazil and Paraguay. Pineapples were discovered by Columbus in 1493 on the Caribbean island of Guadalupe.
- Early attempts by Europeans to cultivate the fruit failed until they realized that the fruit needs a tropical climate to flourish. By the end of the 16th century, Portuguese and Spanish explorers introduced pineapples into their Asian, African and South Pacific colonies.
- Pineapples were first cultivated in Hawaii in the 18th century. Hawaii is the only US state in which they are still grown.
- Other than Panama, other countries that commercially grow pineapples in order of production volumes in 2016 (source) are Costa Rica, Brazil, Philippines, China India, Thailand, Nigeria, Indonesia, Mexico and Colombia.
Increasing Global Demand
With the world population expected to grow by another 2 billion by 2050, the demand for food is continuously increasing. The UN already warned that in order to avoid mass global unrest, food production must increase by 60% by 2050.
Personal income growth, especially in new growth economies like China, India and Latin America, has increased global demand for a wider variety of crops. The aspiration to healthier lifestyles and diets also boosts the demand for nutritious, organic and diverse superfoods.
Global sales from pineapples exports by country amounted to US$2 billion in 2016 (source).
Overall, the value of pineapples exports were up by an average 17.7% for all exporting countries since 2012 when pineapples shipments were valued at $1.7 billion. Year over year, the value of global pineapples exports appreciated in value by 16.2% from 2015 to 2016.
Among continents, Latin American (excluding Mexico) and Caribbean countries accounted for the highest dollar worth of pineapples exports during 2015 with shipments valued at $1 million or 51.1% of global pineapples exports. Panama exported $21.7 million worth of pineapples in 2016, which amounted to 1.1% of total pineapples exports.
In wholesale prices, the global pineapple market grew to $ 14.9 billion in 2016. Over the past nine years, the market has grown on average by 3.3% per year (source).
Health Benefits of Pineapples
Pineapples are a storehouse of several health benefits due to its wealth of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium, copper, manganese, beta-carotene, thiamin, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and folate, and bromelain, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber. (source).
The pineapple has been celebrated for centuries not only for its unique sweet taste but also for its miraculous health benefits. The health and medicinal benefits of pineapples include:
- boosting the immune system
- aiding digestion
- strengthening bones
- preventing cancer
- reducing inflammation of joints and muscles
- curing coughs and colds
- helping weight loss
- improving oral and eye health
- regulating blood pressure and improving blood circulation