Ar-Cal Distributing has taken over the mainland marketing of Hawaii-grown Maui Gold pineapples.
Ar-Cal, a division of Arvin, Calif.-based Trino Packing and Cold Storage, inked a deal with HaliiMaile, Hawaii-based HaliiMaile Pineapple Co. Ltd. to be the North American sales agent for Maui Golds, which HaliiMaile has exclusive rights to, said John Trino, Ar-Cal’s president.
Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo Growers Inc. had been the mainland marketer for Maui Golds when the variety was owned by Makawao, Hawaii-based Maui Land & Pineapple Inc.
HaliiMaile, which became the exclusive marketer of Maui Golds effective Jan. 1, has cut production of Maui Golds from 3,000 to 4,000 acres to 650 acres, Trino said.
Rudy Balala, HaliiMaile’s vice president, said the company is focusing its marketing efforts on the mainland on high-end customers. He said the company can’t compete with pineapples from other countries on price.
“We know we have a superior product,” he said. “Our fruit tastes really good, and we’ve heard a lot of positive comments about it on the mainland.”
HaliiMaile expects to ship about 3,000 to 4,000 cases a week to the mainland U.S., Balala said.
When Maui Land & Pineapple owned the variety, the North American market was flooded with product, Trino said. When HaliiMaile took over, Trino advised company officials to cut acreage to get supply more in line with demand.
Trino served as an adviser to HaliiMaile before the company invited him to become its U.S.-based broker.
Weekly volumes will be limited to two containers at the port at Long Beach, Calif., and one container at the port at Seattle, Trino said. Additional air shipments will arrive on the East Coast.