We have had our own supply chain for fresh Sugarloaf pineapples since 2020. The time has come to take the next step and transition to sea freight. We’re still getting the hang of it.
“You can’t transport Sugarloaf by ship, only by plane,” our partner in Ghana told us in 2015. We now know that it can, in fact, be done. Admittedly, our first sea-freighted Sugarloaf pineapples were not perfect and many of the brave taste testers were less than thrilled. But most of them said they would buy them again.
To understand exactly what this test was all about, we have to go back to 2014. At that time, we wanted to add fresh pineapples to our product range. Easier said than done. The pineapples that arrived that year didn't taste good to either us or our customers, and they only had a short shelf life. Mission accomplished? Nope. If you want to improve, you need perseverance.
We looked around for an alternative, found the aforementioned partner in Ghana and the Sugarloaf variety. With its green skin, its soft, white pulp and its juicy-sweet taste, it won us over immediately. But air-freighted fruit? That doesn’t really fit with gebana. Yet after our unsuccessful first import, we decided to trust the word of the experienced supplier.
We justified the flight transport with the exceptional quality of the variety, the added value for the local farming families and our own obligation to offset the resulting CO2 times five. We also asked you what you thought. Well over half of customers found that, if gebana compensates for the CO2 and communicates transparently, the air transport is okay. We saw this as sufficient justification – for a while.
Right from the start, we saw the cooperation with the partner from Ghana as a temporary solution. It was a way to learn more about the product and its pitfalls. We wanted to learn the ins and outs. The where was always obvious: Togo. Pineapples grow there just as well as in Ghana, and the gebana Togo team has always been eager to bring fresh fruit to Europe.
So we made our first attempt in early 2019. It worked out well, and since then we have been sourcing most of our fresh pineapples from gebana Togo. This success encouraged us to take the next step this year. Against all advice, we loaded the Sugar Loaf pineapple onto a shipping container. The rest is history, as they say. Yet we still have to get better at it. Fortunately, we’re no strangers to perseverance.
The next sea-freighted pineapples arrive in November. You can order them now.
In our blog post "The flying pineapple and its CO2" (German only) you can read about how we offset the CO2 produced by air transport and the difficulties we face in doing so.
In our blog post "A closer look at ships" you can find out how sea freight compares to air transport and what else is important in the discussion on life cycle assessment..
Please keep me informed about gebana and its products.
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Smallholders and local producers harvest and refine products of extraordinary quality worldwide. But for many of these producers there is no adequate or stable market. You can buy directly from these producers via the Access to Market Platform and help them to participate in the market. The principle behind this is crowd ordering – a new trade model whereby a number of consumers order a product together so as to achieve a minimum order quantity. We at gebana support the producers with our know-how, and organise the logistics.
Enable someone to make their first export with your order. Please note: Unexpected events often lead to delays, and you may find that the quality is not yet perfect. For this reason, your feedback is absolutely essential. The export experience and your feedback are important steps for the producers towards accessing the market. As a customer, you are witness to the whole process, playing your part in pioneering work.
You can order from these producers simply and directly. You receive your product as soon as the minimum order quantity has been reached and the products are ready. The risk for you is minimal, since the producers already have a product that is ready for market. This sales channel is beneficial to both the producers and the consumers, since it cuts out the middle man.
Be part of the development of supply chains and support innovation! Some of the ways you can do this include testing new products, giving feedback, or financially supporting the producers in their next steps. In doing so, you will be able to see for yourself how the products and supply chains develop.
This is where you can see all the completed projects on the Access to Market Platform at a glance. You can find out where products are now available from or whether the producers are still seeking a trade partner.