Fresh pineapple has never been easier to eat.

Dole plans to launch individually packed fresh spears this quarter, said Bil Goldfield, communications manager for Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Co.

It will join Chiquita Pineapple Bites, launched last spring in stores by Chiquita Brands International, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The single-serve spears, in plain and coconut flavors, can be eaten fresh or frozen and contain 40 calories per serving, according to a company press release.

Del Monte, meanwhile, is offering pineapple chunks as part of its new ready-to-eat line sold in refrigerated vending machines.

The 4- to 6-ounce packages of fresh fruit or vegetables will make fresh pineapple more accessible and will reinforce the company’s strategy to promote healthier lifestyles, said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing for Del Monte Fresh Produce.

Del Monte also offers a wide range of fresh-cut pineapple products that can be customized to fit any retailer or foodservice operator’s needs, Christou said.

Ken Nabal, vice president of sales and logistics for Edinburg, Texas-based Frontera Produce Ltd., said he is encouraged by the amount of fresh-cut pineapple he’s seeing in retail stores.

“People love pineapples, but when they get it home it’s a challenge,” Nabal said.

“Retailers got away from coring and chunks because of labor and health issues and the amount of shrink, but stores are starting to get back into it.

“Any way that retail can make fresh pineapple more readily available will help sales,” he said. “We’re excited to see the trends.”