What tiny pineapples can tell us about our future

Fresh Del Monte, the global fruit & veg giant, launched a new product in March this year, the Precious Honeyglow pineapple that, weighing in at an average of 600g, is the smallest pineapple it’s created. And it’s telling us a great deal about humanity’s trajectory. 

A 600g pineapple doesn’t sound like a big deal at all, until you take into consideration that a standard pineapple averages in weight around 1kg. That means that Precious Honeyglow is about half the size and weight of its full-size sibling.

Coming in at $20.99 versus the $11.79 for a regular-sized pineapple from the same producer, “precious” certainly seems to be an apt description. 

Why is there even a market for half-sized pineapples? Now that’s where the story gets interesting. 

The empty seats at the table

Solo living is becoming increasingly common in the US, with over 28% of American households now inhabited by just one person. For context, that’s the second largest portion of the US population (there are various categories of people living together). With fewer young people getting married or having children, the trend towards solo households is playing a role in the mounting issue of food waste, particularly through spoilage. When there are less people in the house to help eat the leftovers, a lot more food goes to the bin. 

According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, this translates to a staggering 133 billion pounds of food wasted annually, valued at around $161 billion. Fresh Del Monte’s own internal surveys reveal that individuals living alone are notably less inclined than those in multi-person households to opt for full-size whole pineapples, mainly to minimise fruit wastage.

Their elegant solution to this challenge is to create smaller pineapples that produce less leftovers and therefore less food waste. 

The singleton household phenomenon is not native to the US either. According to the United Nations, the proportion of single-person households worldwide increased from 23% in 1985 to 28% in 2018. By 2050, this number is projected to reach 35%.

That’s a lot of individuals – a few billion people – eating alone, sleeping alone, travelling alone and watching TV alone in 2050. 

For many businesses, this presents a fantastic opportunity for increased sales. Consider that for each married household sharing a Netflix account, Netflix could have the chance to sell two subscriptions to two separate solo households. Other businesses are already jumping at the opportunity to cater to this growing market.

In 2019, P&G introduced the Forever Roll, a giant toilet paper roll that could (theoretically) see a single-consumer household through an entire month, thereby reducing the household storage space usually required to store extra rolls. Food brands like Kellogg’s, Bisto and Tabasco have already introduced single-serving products to target households with individuals living alone, while appliance manufacturers like Bosch are releasing miniaturised versions of appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, ideal for single households with limited floorspace. 

It’s sounding like a future that’s ripe with potential for brands who understand their target markets. But what about humanity as a whole? 

For the full story: Ghost Mail