Pineapples: The true price of luxury fruit revisited

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Two years on, CI’s investigation into the pineapple industry in Costa Rica is showing some signs of progress.

In 2010, Consumers International (CI) reported on the true cost of the cheap and discounted pineapples found on supermarket shelves all over Europe. They now report back on what has changed.

Most are grown in Costa Rica where CI’s investigation uncovered allegations of harsh working conditions from workers who struggled to survive on low wages which were periodically cut in response, they were told, to falling prices in Europe.

Union leaders recounted a history of anti-union activity, discrimination and adverse conditions, while communities near some pineapple plantations described living with the long-term legacy of intensive pesticide use on their health, water and soil.

Pineapple producers strongly repudiated these findings and the ensuing debate reflected the highly-emotive and deeply-entrenched divisions over this in Costa Rica.

Two years on, CI has taken another look to see what has changed and whether progress has been made towards a fairer and more sustainable industry.

CI’s investigation has revealed that Costa Rica is still the world’s leading exporter of fresh pineapples and the source of most of those on sale in Europe. And while pineapple exports are important to the Costa Rican economy, prices in Europe remain low.

Read more and watch the documentary produced in 2011.