California’s Luxury Pineapple Craze: $400 Fruit Gone in Weeks

One of the most expensive fruit items in the US – the Honeyglow pineapple – has flown off shelves in its first appearance on the US market. 

Fruit Over Inflation?

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At a time when inflation, interest rates, and a cost of living crisis are burning holes in millions of pockets, most people are not in the market for a piece of extravagantly-priced luxury fruit. But that hasn’t stopped fans of the rare Rubyglow pineapple.

A Shocking Price Tag

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Earlier this month, a specialty grocer in Southern California named Melissa’s Produce began selling the Rubyglow red pineapple to customers, with a whopping $395.99 price tag – per fruit. 

Sold Out in 3 Weeks

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While the price of the fruit is rather stunning, what might shock people even more is that all of the pineapples sold out in just 3 weeks. 

Flying Off the Shelves

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As of Monday, the store’s official website listed the Rubyglow Pineapple as sold out. Robert Schuelle, the PR director for Melissa’s Produce, confirmed it. He added that after starting with 50 for sale at the beginning of the month, they added more supply until the produce was gone.

Always a Niche Market

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The purchase may seem strange to some, but experts argue that there is always a niche market for “special” and exclusive items. 

“Willing to Pay for Something Special”

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“Consumers are willing to pay for something that’s special,” said Cindy van Rijswick, a Raboban research strategist with a focus on the fresh produce market. “There’s always a small market for higher-end restaurants, or foodies, or certain online channels.”

Not Your Average Pineapple

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People may debate about whether the Rubyglow is worth the hefty price tag, but it’s clearly not your average pineapple. 

The Red Hybrid

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The Rubyglow is a red hybrid pineapple, a cross between a conventional pineapple and a Morada, desired for its unusual color. When mature it is red on the outside and bright yellow on the inside, with an unusually sweet taste.

15 Years in the Making

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Supply is limited because the hybrid takes so long to grow. The fruits are grown in Costa Rica and take 15 years to fully develop.

Fresh Del Monte Produce

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As a result, only a very limited amount comes to fruition each year, according to Fresh Del Monte Produce, the grower and supplier of the Rubyglow. 

Only a Few Thousand Per Year

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Fresh Del Monte produced only a few thousand Rubyglows this year and first introduced them to markets in China back in January.

A Test Run

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They chose to sell them to Melissa’s Produce as their first exclusive American buyer, in a bid to test how well the fruit would do in the US marketplace.

“The Pinnacle of Luxury Fruit”

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On their website, Melissa described being “proud to be the only distributor offering this extraordinary fruit.” They also described the Rubyglow as “the pinnacle of luxury fruit.”

Growing Popularity

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The allure of “luxury fruit” is not lost on some consumers. Unusual hybrid fruit varieties and exotic breeds from outside the US have soared in popularity in recent years. 

Some of the Best on Offer

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Honeycrisp apples, Cotton Candy grapes, Australian finger limes, plum/apricot ‘Pluot’ hybrids, and Japanese strawberries are just some of the wide variety of exotic produce that have been on trend in niche markets. 

Oisshi and Rubyglow

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Still, $400 is far above the price of most of these aforementioned fruits. Perhaps the best equivalent would be the Japanese strawberry, also known as ‘Oishii’ strawberries.

$50 for 8

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These strawberries are grown in specialty vertical farms in Japan and were priced at $50 for a single pack of only eight strawberries when first introduced in the US. 

“Thousands on the Waitlist”

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According to the CEO of the Oishii strawberry company, even at such a high price, they can’t keep up with demand. “Even at $50, we had thousands of people on the waitlist constantly,” said Hiroki Koga. 

Are They Worth It

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With sold-out stock, it seems likely that the Rubyglow, and other luxury fruit and vegetable items, will remain in demand for the foreseeable future. But are they worth the price?

Looks Over Taste

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Melissa’s Produce sent samples to a number of influencers with the hope of generating more buzz for the product. One influence, Chef Bo Corley, described the Rubyglow as “absolutely delightful,” but said it was more likely to sell as a status item or a “centerpiece” than for its taste. 

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The post California’s Luxury Pineapple Craze: $400 Fruit Gone in Weeks first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.



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