Leading canned fruit brand Del Monte has announced the launch of an innovative pineapple variety – Del Monte GOLD.

Two new products – Gold Pineapple Chunks in Juice 435gm and Gold Pineapple Slices in Juice 435g are available now in a major grocery retailer at RSP £1.30 and will roll out across the wider retail trade throughout the year.

The premium range uses a new and specially developed variety of pineapple, said the company in a statement. Del Monte have spent twenty years establishing their own variety, the ‘MD-2’ hybrid pineapple, which delivers in flavour and nutrition consistently, it added.

Martin Tilney, Commercial Director UK and Ireland at Fresh Del Monte said: “We have 125 years of fruit quality, expertise, freshness and product innovation behind us, which has allowed us to develop the ‘MD-2’ hybrid pineapple; we have named Gold.

“Previously, pineapple quality varied in winter months; with greater acidity and a more tart taste. Now with our own Gold variety, picked ripe and ready to eat for optimal results, the best taste & quality experience is ensured all year-round.”

The new variety fruit is characterised by a distinctive deep golden colour to the flesh and a softer, mouth watering texture. The flavour profile is naturally sweeter than the standard Smooth Cayenne variety.

To ensure the best standards in taste, Gold is picked only when fully ripe. It is this key factor which prompts the premium pricing; with greater time given to the fruit on the plant, harvested volumes are lower than standard.

Grown only on Del Monte owned farms in Kenya, all aspects of the supply chain are controlled by Del Monte to ensure quality is maintained throughout.

Additionally, the Gold pineapple’s characteristic square shouldered shape maximizes the size of fruit used for canning and reduces waste. It naturally has four times the Vitamin C of traditional varieties and is also a great source of vitamins, minerals, fibre, enzymes and anti-oxidants.

With canned fruit rooted in a traditional background, the launch of Gold offers Del Monte a route to contemporize the brand.  Tilney adds: “To match the premium quality of our Gold pineapple we’ve created an impactful black and gold packaging design to give a premium and stylish look and feel to the product. We’ve also ensured that the communication of the ‘new variety’ and ‘naturally sweeter’ is very clear on pack so consumers understand exactly what this new product offers them.

“We’re confident that Gold will attract a wider and younger audience who may not have previously considered purchasing canned fruit and who appreciate the use of ‘something special’ for key moments and occasions.”

Extensive brand support spanning consumer and trade PR, social media content, consumer advertising and sampling will continue to mark the brand as the nation’s favourite fruit.