Pineapples

The Importance of Pineapple Quality Control & Testing

Pineapples are called Ananas in nearly every language in the world, but when the fruit was discovered by Columbus, he named it piña de Indes or pinecone of the Indians because it resembled a pinecone!

Nowadays, pineapples are mostly grown in Latin America and West Africa, and about 27 million tonnes of pineapples are produced every single year. An expensive fruit, quality control is very important, ensuring that everyone in the value chain – from growers and pickers, to wholesalers, marketing companies and retailers – have the best chance of making a profit when selling the produce.

Uniformity over size and shape, firmness, color, straightness and size of leaves, and the range of soluble solids are all factors that contribute to the quality control decisions made when looking after a pineapple harvest. Adding consistency and control to this process is a win for all stakeholders in the fresh produce industry.

Common Pineapple Defects

The following defects are the ones that are most likely to affect pineapple quality across the supply chain:

Pests

You’ll often find mealybugs or scale, which look like fluffy, wax-like material, under the leaves of the pineapple. Scale is harder to spot than mealybugs, but they can both be treated with horticultural oil.

Skin Defects

Pineapples can suffer from a wide range of skin defects such as external brown spots or pitting.

Bruising

A pineapple might seem robust but it can quickly get bruised if it’s not handled properly. This could happen at any stage of the pineapple value chain, from initial harvest, through to retailer warehousing.

Molds on Edges (Cut Fruit and Crown Area)

Mold can often be found on the edges of pineapples and it can be white, gray, or even blue in color. Although crown mold doesn’t impact the flesh of the fruit, it is still considered to be a defect and may affect pricing. Mold usually occurs as the result of storage issues related to temperature or moisture.

Translucency

There is no definitive answer to why pineapple flesh can appear translucent, with some people believing it’s due to high temperatures or a calcium imbalance. This defect causes a watery appearance in the pineapple flesh.

Crown Condition

We’ve lost count of the number of issues that the crown of a pineapple could have. It could be deformed due to poor growing conditions, or because of an animal bite, or it could naturally grow in an unusual way.

Deformed

Plants that are infected by issues such as nematodes, mealy bugs or low levels of soil oxygen can easily end up with deformities in the skin, flesh, crown, and leaves. These deformities can have varying impacts on the quality of the fruit itself.

Sunburn

Both sunlight in large quantities and high temperatures can cause damage to the pineapple plant. This will look like bleached yellow-white skin on the surface, and the tissue underneath will be pale brown or gray in color. This is known as sunburn.

Freezing Damage

When pineapples are exposed to low temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you may see red or white burn spots on the leaves, which shows that the fruit has been damaged due to freezing temperatures. Some disorders can develop including black heart or indogenous brown spots.

Rot

Base or butt rot looks like a gray or black rot at the base of the stem and it causes a major reduction to plant growth. If it is allowed to progress, plants will wilt rapidly as leaf tissue dies. There are types of rot that can be seen on the skin of the fruit, while others are only visible once the fruit is cut.

Interesting Facts about Pineapples

Common Attributes for Pineapple Quality Evaluation

The following internal and external pineapple attributes are commonly used for quality evaluation:

Color coverage

Diameter

Length

Degrees Brix

Inner color

Acidity

Brix/Acidity Ratio

For the full list of attributes that the Clarifruit platform currently evaluates and recommended quality standards for each, download our free app now.

The Clarifruit platform also integrates with 3rd-party technology to evaluate external tomato attributes. Learn more here.

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