Canned pineapple face off: Del Monte versus Dole

The Philippines is the third largest producer of pineapples globally. Pineapple production in the country is dominated by two multinational corporations — Dole and Del Monte — which both have plantations in Mindanao. Their presence and operations in the Philippines are not without controversy but I won’t get into the politics. For now, I’ll stick with their canned pineapple.

Dole canned pineapple used to be cheaper than its Del Monte counterpart. Not anymore. For some reason, the prices are now practically the same so it was just too tempting to put the two brands side by side for comparison. So we did. Speedy and I bought their 234-gram pineapple chunks and here’s what we found out.

Canned pineapple face-off: Del Monte versus Dole

Note that the following covers pineapple chunks. We’re not saying that the same results would apply to the sliced pineapples and pineapple tidbits.

Let’s start with the price. Shopwise Antipolo prices: Dole, PHP21.50; Del Monte, PHP21.95. A mere PHP0.45 centavo difference, you’d say.

Canned pineapple face-off: Del Monte versus Dole

Dole has a pull tab; Del Monte does not. If you never thought about it, canning forms part of the cost of canned fruit. If one brand can afford a pull tab and still be cheaper, well, that’s really food for thought.

Let’s go and see the pineapple inside the cans.

Canned pineapple face-off: Del Monte versus Dole

The Del Monte pineapple chunks are cut smaller than the Dole pineapple chunks. What’s the significance? It’s a marketing strategy, really. For some people, more pieces means more although that may be more apparent than real. I mean, in terms of mass, four smaller chunks might really be less than three larger chunks.

From another perspective, for the average consumer who thinks in terms of number of pieces that will be divided equally between so many persons, well, he’d go for the brand with more pineapple pieces, won’t he? Let’s say Juan has an eatery and he serves a dish with pineapple chunks. Naturally, for the customer, it’s not really the volume of pineapples that will make a dish attractive but, rather, the appearance — and more pieces on a plate sort of gives an impression that there are more pineapples than there might really be. Same is true in, say, a family of four of six or eight…

Canned pineapple face-off: Del Monte versus Dole

So much for the size. Let’s move on. What about the texture? The chunks in the Dole can were firm; the chunks in the Del Monte can were rather soggy as though they came from overripe fruits. But, despite the seemingly better texture, Speedy had a criticism against the Dole chunks — they contained parts of the tougher and more fibrous core. In the Philippines, the core of the pineapple is not considered edible.

What about the taste? They don’t differ all that much. How can they — they’re both canned with syrup already. The natural sweetness of fresh, not canned, pineapple is easier and more fair to compare and judge. We’ll do the fresh pineapple face-off another time.

Final verdict?

Okay, if you just want to eat the fruit out of the can, there’s really no substantial difference between the two brands.

If you want to use the pineapple chunks for a salad or a quick stir fry, the Del Monte pineapple chunks would be more practical because of the size and number of pieces.

But if you want to skewer and grill the pineapple chunks like, say, for a kabob? Gee, the Dole pineapple chunks would be the better choice, hands down.

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  • Crisma

    I also like your side by side product comparisons because I can see the products better that way. Dati kasi, siguro I was just used to grabbing a particular brand in the grocery, dahil lang sa nasanay ako sa brand. Maybe this time because of your product comparisons, maybe I can try other brands. Thanks, Connie!

    • Ingrid

      Ms. Connie, can you do Royal vs. Del Monte spaghetti noddles next? :) I love your product comparison posts.

      • Connie

        We’ll get there. :)

    • jonlimjap

      We stick with Dole because for some reason, when used for salads and such, Del Monte just turns out as more sour.

    • scoredina

      when it comes to pineapple juice my family always buy dole but when it comes to canned pineapples we always use del monte, i guess because del monte is more ubiquitous. last christmas i had to make macaroni salad and bought crushed pineapple…was forced to buy dole because there were no big cans of del monte. the pineapples were very sour it was so dismal that i couldn’t use the other can i bought. i was extremely disappointed and i think i’ll never use dole canned pineapple products anymore.

      and yes ms connie, the core is yummy we eat them too :)

    • http://www.barbiekins.com Barbie

      I’m a hard core Del Monte fan… I grew up with and in the Del Monte compound in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon,

      Before, I was used to buying Del Monte products only. I like variety now. Hehe. Their products were better before… That’s what my Tito (who works for Del Monte) also says. But more than that, Del Monte has more and considerably better products that are not sold commercially.

      They have very good meat products – their bacon and steaks are to die for. And their butter is sold at only Php 240 for a kilo, best butter ever. ;)

      • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

        Butter, bacon, steaks — where are they sold??

        • Albert Rendal

          thanks for the info for product comparison Connie, keep ‘em coming….. :)
          very useful info for us – consumers….

        • http://www.barbiekins.com Barbie

          They sell it in The Lodge or The Clubhouse in Del Monte. I don’t think they’re being sold in Manila. I might get some stocks soon, I’ll give you some, Miss Connie :)

          • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

            Oh that would be lovely!

        • david

          we had a can of Dole pinapple chunks for desert and they were from thailand and we had to throw them away, could not eat them.

          • http://casaveneracion.com/ Connie Veneracion

            Well, that’s not very informative. Your statement would only make sense if you gave the reason as to why you didn’t deem it inedible.

  • Connie

    Wow, I think my family’s the only one that gets rid of the pineapple core hahahaha

  • http://mariamasungit.blogspot.com curiousGirl

    Hi Ms. Connie, I’m loving your side by side comparisons! Hope you do some more- this is coming from a consumer who checks labels before buying- which makes you save a few centavos (maybe) but makes your grocery trip longer haha.

    That’s why I like doing the grocery by myself..

  • Katerina

    Well I prefer Dole pineapple because it’s sweeter than Del Monte. That’s what I used in all my salads.

  • kulasa

    We use Dole for salads and spreads and Del Monte for cooking. I find Dole actually a little sweeter than Del Monte. Thank for the side by side comparisons, it’s good to find out what you really get with your hard earned money.

    BTW, I also eat the core.

  • nina

    here, i usually buy dole, del monte, libbey’s and some brands whose pineapple came from the philippines. others which came from thailand and china are not good :(

    btw, i eat the inner core ;)

  • Connie

    You do???

  • shutterpaws

    I buy the Del Monte that comes in pouches, but I like eating the core of the pineapple so I think I’ll try getting a can of Dole.

  • natzsm

    For almost all my pineapple needs, I buy the Dole Pineapple Rings and chop them myself according to how I am going to use them in the recipe. I know it is added work but I am assured of getting the “best” pineapple. I did notice that the smaller pieces you purchase (chunks, tidbits and crushed) more and more of the pineapple core could be added to the product.

    Same is true to pickle relish- I buy either chips or whole and dice them myself.

    Ms. Connie, your side by side product comparisons are really GREAT! Somethings I am also very curious about are those big cans or canisters of “assorted” biscuits. You really never know what is in them until you open the can and it could really be disappointing at times.

  • cocoy

    @Connie I eat the inner core, too, Connie :-)