Supplies of imported pineapples are unexpectedly tight right now.
“The pineapples are coming from Costa Rica and it’s tight—there might be a gap in what Costa Rica is shipping out here,” says Victor Wilcox with First Quality Produce in Fresno, Ca. “It’s been like this for about two to three weeks and it’ll probably continue to be tight for a few more weeks.”
The tightening is due to the extremely wet weather the Costa Rican growing regions have faced this year. “Couple that with the fact that it is typically the shortest growing time of the year,” says Wilcox. “The quality is fine though—we haven’t had any issues with the quality of the fruit.”
Snack Buddies pineapple spear from First Quality Produce.
Turn in demand
Meanwhile demand is picking up as well for pineapple. “Demand is always pretty consistent with pineapple. It’s one of the more popular items we do,” says Wilcox. “And with the start of schools, it’s probably increased demand. This is the time when a number of foodservice accounts come back into service and they like to serve pineapple if they can. The demand does increase but it’s expected.”
In turn, the tightness has pushed prices to double. “The price has skyrocketed. It started slowly going up when it started to get tight, about $2 here and there. And now it’s been double for a week or two,” says Wilcox.
That said, he does think the price has hit a threshold. “I think the price has capped out and the supplies will stay tight until the end of August and then it’ll get back to normal,” notes Wilcox. ““It’s the highest market we have seen in a very long time. But we’re anticipating the market to stabilize and return back to normal by the 1st or 2nd week of September.”