Pineapples Case Study

Three quarters of pineapples sold in Europe come from Costa Rica. But while the price of this exotic fruit is cut in Europe, a new Consumers International (CI) film made in collboration with The Guardian and based on research carried out by Banana Link investigates working conditions in the pineapple industry and its impact on communities and the environment in Costa Rica.


Watch Pineapples: Luxury fruit, at what price? in seven languages:

English, French, DanishGreek, Dutch-Flemish, Spanish, Polish


Working conditions for pineapple workers are harsh. Workers, many of them migrants, work long shifts, six days per week and for less than a living wage. Lower prices in Europe mean lower wages for workers who only take home 4 cents in every Euro that consumers spend on pineapples. Unions in Costa Rica are working to try and improve conditions but workers frequently allege that membership results in discrimination by producer companies.


Environmental impact

Most pineapple production in Costa Rica is large scale and dependent on regular and intense use of a cocktail of toxic agrochemicals. As well as affecting the health of workers, this has a serious impact on the environment, degrading the soil and polluting water supplies.


Who is responsible?

While workers receive just 4 cents, 96 cents in each Euro spent on a pineapple go to plantation owners, multinational traders and retailers - with the latter, mainly supermarkets, receiving the largest slice at 41 cents.

All actors in the supply chain have an important role to play including supermarkets. Because they set the prices in stores they have a clear responsibility to ensure that they are not selling cut price fruit at the expense of fair living conditions.

Background report

Below you can download a summary of case study research carried out in for CI by Banana Link.


In the CI blog: The filmakers talk about meeting workers and seeing how they live

Felicity Lawrence talks about the reaction to the film and investigation into the pineapple industry in Costa Rica on a Guardian blog. Where do the profits go?


The true cost of UK supermarket price wars over bananas and pineapples are discussed in BBC Radio 4's Food Programme, with Felicity Lawrence adding her experience from the Costa-Rican pineapple industry.

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