AU: Pineapple production hotting up for summer
The pineapples are grown through the summer in Mareeba and for the remainder of the year in southern Queensland for a year round supply.
The company grows pineapples on 400 hectares producing half million trays each year.
The pineapples are all destined for the domestic market, "A labour cost of 25 AU$ per hour means we can't compete in the export markets. Our main customers are the big retailers," explains Scurr.
The main variety is the MD2 which is grown in north Queensland and also the 73/50 which comes from the same breeding program but has a lower acid level and is more suited to the cooler conditions in South Queensland.
"We have been selling topless pineapples in Australia for 15 years now, it was mainly as a cost reduction method as it reduced the freight costs. Some consumers prefer them without the top, but there are still people who want the top left on. We remove the tops ourselves and attach a label with vegetable glue, this is how they are packed," according to Scurr.
Pinata Farms do not do any fresh cut pineapples, but do supply a couple of companies who do this. Scurr explains that the fresh cut market is not as developed in Australia as in Europe.
Demand for fresh pineapples in Australia will increase during the summer months leading into Christmas, at this time of the year it is almost double that for winter.
The price of pineapples has been stable for 10 years at around 4 dollars per fruit although costs have increased.
There has been a modest increase in overall production of fresh produce in Australia year on year but processing has dramatically reduced by as much as 20% in the last 20 years due to the high costs.
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