As Thai pineapple processors are getting ready to make a push for 2018 at the ANUGA Food Show in Cologne, Germany October 7-11th, 2017, they are reporting that the fruit supply is slowly recovering from last year’s low levels. Thai canned pineapple products have taken a lot of “beating” from end-users during the last 12-18 months because of lack of flavor; fruit was picked and processed before it had a chance to mature during the period when supply was low and demand was high.
Pineapple growing areas have been getting a good amount of rainfall this year which helped increase the yield and improve the quality of the fruit. According to a report published by the FoodNews, “Thailand’s processing pineapple harvest this year will be slightly larger than last year’s 1.49 million tons, but still way below historical norms.” The total tonnage for 2017 is estimated to be around 1.7-1.8 million tons or about 20% more than last year.
According to our local sources, factories will face difficulties hiring workers to fill their maximum processing capacity because of the latest government regulations. In an effort to prevent human trafficking, the Thai government has recently enacted new laws for hiring migrant workers and set quotas for companies that desire to hire temporary migrant workers. This can be a major problem for processors during high season because they can’t just hire extra labor when the fruit is pouring in. Instead, they must get work permits first and they cannot exceed their assigned quotas.
A factor that we have to take into consideration is the strengthening of the Thai Baht against the US dollar. The Baht has gained about 8% in value against the USD during the past two months. However, given the better fruit supply, we expect the prices to get back to “normal” levels. The Thai pineapple processing industry has traditionally endured a lot of “boom and bust” cycles and they hope that supply and demand situation will balance out during the next 12-month period.