Thai pineapple fruit supply continues to be extremely short
For several months, our packers have been reporting that the supply of raw material has been extremely weak, with record high prices. The winter harvest is off to a slow start; the harvest season (October through December) has been delayed to mid November because the fruit is still small and the tonnage per acre is very low. Industry experts predict that the output will remain at no more than 50% of the normal rate. Thailand is the biggest pineapple producer in Southeast Asia and the shortage cannot be compensated by other countries of origin, such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Pricing of fresh pineapple in September was around 14 Baht/kg, compared to 3 Baht/kg in 2018. Pineapple takes a long time to grow; the time between seedling and harvest-ready fruit is 18 months, so relief can only be expected around the middle of next year. When the price is low, growers get discouraged and don’t maintain the plants. This creates a shortage and the prices go up, so farmers start planting again; however, they don’t see the fruit of their labor for almost two years.
The general belief is that we will see some price decrease early into 2021, and hopefully another decrease as we move closer to the next harvest in May and June. It will be some time before we see prices normalize between 5-8 Baht/kg.
Schreiber Foods International has sufficient canned pineapple inventories at reasonable prices. We will continue to monitor the crop situation as many things are hard to predict during this worldwide pandemic.