Pineapple prices have soared to their highest level since August 2012 as a result of weather problems in Costa Rica, which have seen supplies of the fruit plummet.

European importers are currently paying £12.38 for 11kg of Costa Rican pineapples - up 70% on a year ago and the highest since their August 2012 peak when a box cost £11.59 [Mintec].

While retail prices of many fruit & veg lines have fallen over recent months, the average price of a loose pineapple in the UK mults has risen to £1.61 - up from £1.48 in March and the highest retail price since mid-July last year [].

Costa Rica is the world’s biggest exporter of pineapples, accounting for 90% of global fresh pineapple supply [International Pineapple Organisation/USDA].

Recent cold and wet weather has had a significant impact on the Costa Rican pineapple harvest, with irregular rain cycles last year causing delays in planting and “large amounts of rain over the past several months, resulting in the fruit taking longer to ripen and reach the desired sweetness,” says Mintec analyst Jara Zicha.

Recent activity by Costa Rica’s Turrialba volcano and El Niño have also contributed to delayed maturation, adds Will Cavan, executive director of The International Pineapple Organisation.

The subsequent lag on shipments had led to a tightening in availability of Costa Rican pineapples in Europe, with exports down 15% for the first quarter of 2015, says Zicha.

The bad weather has seen shipments to Europe by Costa Rican grower Visa Fruits and Tubers fall by as much as 20% in recent months. However, a spokeswoman expects natural flowering to generate “significant volumes” over the next five to seven weeks, with a pineapple oversupply by July potentially taking “a significant toll on prices”.