Josep Lay, Managing Director of PT Great Giant Pineapple provides some insight for fruitjuicefocus.com
The big four pineapple producers in the world are Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and Costa Rica (85-90%). Thailand’s production in 2019 is expected to drop to 1.1 million tonnes. The Philippines production remains stable over recent years, while Costa Rica is now producing more in NFC. Indonesia’s production keeps growing steadily but will not be able to substitute the shortfall of other countries.
A passion for pineapple – PT Great Giant Pineapple
PT Great Giant Pineapple (GGP) operate on a 34,000 ha plantation area in Lampung, Indonesia, with some 25,000 employees. This is the world’s single largest integrated green production facility producing more than 700,000 tonnes of pineapple annually. Rainforest Alliance Certified – GGP commits to control every step of the process from plantation to processing and shipping.
Their system and process allows the company to trace from finished product to a specific planting area. Since our establishment in 1979, PT Great Giant Pineapple’s (GGP) has become the largest private label manufacturer of canned pineapples in the world and a prominent source of premium pineapples. Being farmers at heart we pride ourselves on implementing sustainable agricultural practices, at the core of our business operations. With one in every 4 pineapple originating from GGP, our plantation covers 90,000 acres, and our unrivalled expertise in fruit cultivation is supported by a seamless supply chain alongside our fully integrated facilities.
We began implementing our sustainability initiatives form 1980 by actively maintaining our natural lagoons to harvest rainwater thereby reducing our consumption of ground water. Since then we have invested in various initiatives relating to the environment as well as the social and economic welfare of local communities.
GGP are the largest private label manufacturer of canned pineapples in the
world serving leading retailers and brands from over 60 countries with a market share of 25%. Premium products include pineapple in pouches, fillings and spreads, canned pineapples and tropical fruit salad, pineapple juice concentrate (PJC), clarified pineapple concentrate (CPC), deionised clarified pineapple concentrate (DCPC), not from concentrate (NFC).
Costa Rica pineapple landscape. After reaching a USD200 million record in exports in 2016, in 2018 the value of pineapple juice sold by Costa Rican companies abroad fell to USD104 million. The 2016 advantages such as climate and production problems in South East Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines contributed to the spike in trade.
At the beginning of 2019 there were 44,500 hectares dedicated to fruit cultivation in Costa Rica, however because of high production costs and a drop in International prices predicted by 2021, the cultivated area could fall to 38,000 ha. Growing competition from Colombia, Panama and Ecuador producers who have managed to gain market share in the US and Europe is noted as the reason.
Thailand pineapple harvest. Experiencing the lowest tonnage in the last 20 years Thailand has significant production hurdles to overcome. Due to the very low price of fresh pineapple in previous seasons, farmers did not take care of plantations and this has affected total production volumes, size of fruit and quality. Low yields are predicted to continue in the short term, and also noted is that pineapple production is seen as more labour intensive than other crops such as mango, jackfruit, or rubber. There has been a significant consolidation of canaries in the region from 2011-2019.
Philippines and Indonesia. Philippines has been facing dry spells although predictions are for this to normalise, production is slightly less compared to 2018. The dry season in Indonesia has turned into the ‘long drought’ from May-Nov 2019, not enough rainfalls during those period. Production of Indonesia in 2019 is expected to be higher than 2018. Due to long drought in 2019, Indonesia is expecting a lower production volume in Q1/2020 around by 20%.
Production opportunities for GGP. Thailand is facing a crisis in pineapple industry, not enough workers and no interest for Thailand’s young generation to be a farmer. Declining trends in Thailand’s pineapple tonnage provides opportunities for growth of production volume at GGP. GGP is preparing to minimize the impact of El Nino or drought by investing more water reservoirs. GGP’s water reservoir enable to sustain for 90 days without rain. GGP is a company concerned with ‘Going Green and Sustainability’, creating a food estate that has no waste, every single item is utilized, from the pineapple skin, manure from the cattle operation as well as other solid waste.
Data from CBI – Market and quality
The European Union is the largest market of pineapple juice with more over 50% share of the total world imports according to the CBI. The Netherlands is the largest European importer of pineapple juice, followed by France and Germany. The major developing country suppliers are Thailand and Costa Rica.
Pineapple juice may contain finely divided insoluble solids, but it does not contain pieces of shell, seeds, or other coarse or hard substances or excess pulp. The juice intended for export is usually concentrated and later reconstituted with water due to practical reasons of lowering transportation costs which would otherwise include transport cost for water and packaging.
The basic quality requirements for pineapple juice are defined by the following parameters:
- Colour: characteristic of the variety, most commonly golden yellow to amber.
- Flavour and odour: distinct pineapple flavour and odour, free from foreign flavours and odours.
- Brix level: quality of concentrated pineapple juices is mainly defined by the Brix level (sugar content of an aqueous solution) and Brix level directly influences the price of the product. According to trade classification the highest category for pineapple juices is defined with Brix level exceeding 67. However, in European industry practice the most common concentrated pineapple juices used by bottlers are around 60-61 Brix and 65 Brix. According to the European Union directive minimum Brix level for reconstituted pineapple juice is 12.8.
Additional quality requirements
- Pulp content: pulp content may vary and commonly it is between 6 and 18% in the concentrated pineapple juice. Importers may require more pulp content as visible pulp in juices is becoming more popular among European consumers.
- Acid level: citric acid level is beside Brix the most common parameter that influence the quality and price of the product. Usually acid level for concentrated pineapple juice is 2-4% of citric acid.
Which European markets offer opportunities for exporters of pineapple juice
Over the last five years, imports of pineapple juice in the European Union have increased annually by an average 9% in value, but decreased by 1% in quantity, reaching EUR521 million and 376,000 tonnes in 2016.
Decreasing import quantity compared to value indicates an increase in import prices in 2016. The average import price for concentrated pineapple juice in Europe increased from EUR1.7/kg (CIF) to EUR2.4/kg.
European Union imports of pineapple juice are concentrated, and three top importers (the Netherlands, France and Spain) together account for more than 60% of total European imports.
The largest imports from countries outside the European Union are from Thailand and Costa Rica. Together they hold almost 80% of the total market. Although the Philippines is one of the largest exporter of pineapple juice in the world, they are traditionally more focused on the US market.
Imports from Brazil showed very significant average annual growth of 103% over the last five years. Other growing exporters are China (56% annual growth) South Africa (37%) and Kenya (15%).
The leading external destinations for pineapple juice processed in Europe are Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt. There was a very high export increase to Iran, from EUR129 thousand in 2012 to EUR3.4 million in 2016. This export to Iran is mainly recorded from Germany.
Sources: CBI, PT Great Giant Pineapple, ITC Trade Map, Central American Data, Thai Statistics Office,