Wednesday, January 26

One of life's biggest mysteries

I love pineapple juice. It is full of deliciousness — and economic mysteries.

I noticed recently while consuming President's Choice 100% Pure Pressed Pineapple Juice that it claims to contain the juice of "three Costa Rican pineapples." When I thought about this, it boggled my mind. Three Costa Rican pineapples at my local supermarket cost $11.97 (that's $3.99 per pineapple). Yet the juice from three Costa Rican pineapples costs only $4.29.

What I can't figure out is why pineapple juice is almost three times cheaper than buying an equivalent quantity of pineapples. Sure, whole pineapples are heavier and take up more room than pineapple juice, which would add to shipping costs. But there is labour and packaging required to make pineapple juice. And unlike whole pineapples, the juice has to stay refrigerated, which would offset some or all of the difference in shipping costs.

So why is my juice so much cheaper than pineapples? Do shipping costs really comprise such a large component of a pineapple's total cost so as to create such a drastic price difference? Is spoilage on pineapples so high that by buying one pineapple, I'm really paying for the one pineapple I'm consuming plus a couple more that went rotten before they left the grocery store? Is the juice box lying about containing three pineapples or is the supermarket gouging on the price of individual pineapples?

It is times like these that I wish I had the knowledge of one of my namesakes: David Karp, fruit detective. I am very perplexed.