Consumers of tinned pineapple have been urged not to boycott Golden Circle, the only company processing Australian pineapples.
Angry Australians vented their fury online this week after NQ Paradise Pines shared a social media post on Tuesday, criticising Golden Circle’s Brisbane cannery for not opening early to process a glut of north Queensland fruit.
Farmers said they were being forced to leave hundreds of tonnes of pineapples to rot, due to a glut of the fruit.
But US-based processor Kraft Heinz has broken its silence to refute the claims, maintaining its Golden Circle brand was not to blame for the fresh pineapples going to waste.
“For 70 years, Golden Circle has been one of the largest supporters of Australian pineapple growers,” a spokesperson said.
The company processed more than 25,000 tonnes of Australian pineapples in spring, less than anticipated because of seasonal weather variations.
“The cannery remained open for an extra three weeks during December to take additional pineapples,” the spokesperson said.
“One week prior to the scheduled Christmas closure, our cannery received notice of available supply from a fresh market packer in north Queensland.
“As trained labour was not available over the Christmas week, and Golden Circle’s standards for canned pineapple require processing within three days of harvesting, the fruit could not be taken.
“All of the tinned pineapple Golden Circle sells to the major retailers is Australian-grown and canned in our Brisbane cannery.”
Pineapple glut unusual for this time of year
The company has the support of Piñata Farms, which grows pineapples across Queensland and the Northern Territory.
According to managing director Gavin Scurr, it is crucial that Australians do not boycott Golden Circle.
“At the moment they’re very busy with mangoes. It’s the mango season and normally there are not many pineapples round at this time of year,” he said.
“So they actually close their pineapple part of the factory over the Christmas period.
“Normally there’s not a lot of fruit around, so Golden Circle use that time to actually do maintenance on their plant, so even if they wanted to they can’t because the machinery is in bits, or was in bits.”