AU: No ill will intended by viral social media pineapple post

The North Queensland packing and distribution company whose social media post about the pineapple oversupply went viral, says it was not meant as an attack on processing company Golden Circle.

The post depicted a pile of pineapples that went to waste, highlighting that there will be a shortage of Australian made canned pineapple for the next three months, yet Golden Circle did not open the cannery when there was a glut in the market. Rob Richardson from NQ Paradise Pines says he hopes people continue to buy Golden Circle, if it is an Australian made product.

"What we hope is that people are educated," he said. "Golden Circle is a foreign owned company, and they are importing canned pineapple and a lot of people did not know that. That is what the post told me - a lot of people thought it was a completely 100 per cent owned Australian company, and everything in a Golden Circle can was Australian pineapple. It's not a warning, or anything, but shows what backlash could happen if a major operation like Golden Circle decided to stop canning here. We still want people to buy Golden Circle. The frustration was the cannery not opening in a swamped market which affected our growers."

Mr Richardson says the oversupply was not a result of more pineapples being planted, but higher yields created by 'perfect' growing conditions, which featured rain at the right times and warm conditions.

"There was a lot of pineapples around, obviously there is an oversupply in the fresh food market and that's what we market into," he said. "We don't send to the cannery, but guys down south who do started sending it into the fresh market, because the cannery wasn't opened."

He says Golden Circle's reason was they were not prepared for such an event.

"They said they couldn't get people, they couldn't get trained staff and they weren't told until it was too late," Mr Richardson said. "So I am guessing that the whole industry needs to communicate better with Golden Circle and Golden Circle needs to communicate with the industry better so this thing doesn't happen anymore."

While NQ Paradise Pines finished their season this week, it says the oversupply should correct itself in next three weeks as all the December fruit and January fruit is sold at "pretty poor" prices. Mr Richardson says for North Queensland Smooth growers the damage is already done.

"For our growers it affects their four biggest weeks of the year, so they are going to feel it in the hip pocket," he said. "We basically have a three month season where the growers make all their money and we make money as a pack house, but for one month of the season they are going to have affected returns. The price of smooth pineapples has pretty much plummeted. We are just thankful Coles and Woolworths take the hybrid variety, which maintained a reasonable price, but the smooth variety which goes into the cans and fresh markets - that really got smashed, so there will be negative returns."

Attempts were made to contact Golden Circle for comment.

For more information:
Rob Richardson
NQ Paradise Pines

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