Raw material price increases force Thai canners into negative returns Pineapple shortages as Thai packers hit by rises A shortage of pineapple seems inevitable as Thai packers fail to meet outstanding orders and neither Swaziland or the Philippines can make up the shortfall. Raw material prices have risen in Thailand, forcing canners into negative returns as they struggle to meet existing contracts. UK importers report a reluctance by canners to offer forward, which is hardly surprising in view of the instability of the fresh market. This position will prevail until the winter crop is harvested in September. Swaziland canners have switched their processing to citrus fruits, where they continue to enjoy a growing market in the UK. South Africa is packing but already has full order books. Pineapple is a typical "boom and bust product", a leading importer said. "It seems only yesterday that canners throughout the world were complaining of overproduction and poor returns." As raw material prices tumbled, farmers switched their crops, which have led to the current difficulties. Suppliers from Indonesia and the Philippines are beset with political problems causing intermittent supplies. Malaysia, once a dominant factor in the UK market, concentrates on North America, where better prices can be obtained. It still supplies the food sector, where special packs are required. {{CANNED GOODS }}