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92-year-old Lee Pineapple Company to cease canned pineapples production

The esteemed 92-year-old Lee Pineapple Company is reportedly transitioning to oil palm cultivation. Their Skudai, Johor canned pineapple processing factory is set to halt canned pineapple production by year-end.

Netizens expressed surprise and nostalgia, recalling fond childhood memories and lamenting the departure of Lee’s pineapple products.



MALAYSIA: The well-established 92-year-old Lee Pineapple Company, renowned in both Singapore and Malaysia, is undergoing a transformation to cultivate oil palms.

By the end of this year, they will cease the production of canned pineapples.

Following the announcement about the factory discontinuing its canned pineapple production, numerous passionate fans and customers of the brand expressed deep regret. Some even hurried to the factory to obtain Lee Pineapple’s canned products, likely for the last time.

According to the Malaysian media outlet Nanyang Daily News, the canned pineapple processing factory of Lee Pineapple Company, situated at Skudai, Johor, suspended operations from the 30th of last month until last Sunday (6 Aug).

The factory is reportedly in a phase of limited production.

The late prominent Singaporean businessman, Lee Kong Chian, often referred to as the “Rubber King” and “Pineapple King,” together with his younger brother acquired the Nanyang Pineapple Factory in 1930.

They rebranded it as Lee Pineapple Company, and after World War II, it was led by Lee Kong Chian’s second son, Lee Cheng Chai.

The factory in Sg. Rambai, Skudai is a pre-war building that has been operating continuously for the past 92 years, upholding the legacy of Lee Kong Chian’s leadership in the pineapple industry.

Ceasing pineapples harvesting

An anonymous senior executive from the company confirmed that due to the unsuitability of the current soil for pineapple cultivation, the factory is expected to completely halt its canned pineapple production line by the end of the year.

He disclosed that the company did not harvest pineapples last week and is currently in a phase of limited production.

He noted that canned pineapple production is a labor-intensive industry that relies not only on a workforce but also requires a significant number of laborers to support the entire supply chain.

The company plans to transition to oil palm cultivation, which will no longer necessitate a large labor force for the supply chain and will be easier to manage.

According to the company’s official website, Lee Pineapple Company specializes in producing canned pineapples, including varieties like ring-shaped pineapples, pineapple juice, low-sugar pineapples, and pineapple with chili flavor.

Canned pineapples from the company are not only popular in Malaysia and Singapore but are also exported to countries such as the United States, Europe, Japan, and the Middle East.

In 2015 alone, export orders reached 529,470 units.

Netizens bid farewell to Lee’s pineapple product

Following the dissemination of the news, netizens promptly conveyed their astonishment and emotions.

On 3 August, a netizen’s post within a Facebook group lavished praise upon the Lee company. He underscored the company’s favorable reviews, sterling reputation, commitment to employee well-being, and contributions to education.

“Thank you for becoming a part of the memories of the people of Johor Bahru. Your beverages have been a cherished element of our growing-up memories, always present during the New Year. ”

The news also found its way into Singapore’s media outlets, including Mustsharenews.

In response to a post on Mustsharenews’ Facebook page, multiple netizens reminisced about their cherished childhood memories tied to Lee’s pineapple products and their significance during Chinese New Year celebrations.

Others conveyed their shock at the news and lamented the farewell to Lee’s pineapple offerings.

Some comments highlighted the challenge faced by the company in terms of pineapple plantations.

They noted that numerous crops require a rotation of soil usage, such as rubber and palm oil, but now, the focus seems to be solely on pineapple and oil palm.

On Tuesday, Nanyang Daily News also reported that a crowd of customers rushed to Lee’s company factory outlet in Sg. Rambai.

Taking advantage of the final opportunity, many people from both southern and central Malaysia flocked to the outlet to “sweep up” the remaining goods.

They made substantial purchases of canned pineapples, causing the company’s sales to surge akin to the fervor of the Chinese New Year.

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How come? Did Tarman Jurong pinesapple king not buy over all the durians during elections? tsk tsk tsk.

I suspect it is just a matter of profit margins, nothing to do with soil management, labor, etc. Pineapple is a 19th-20th century crop, while palm oil is the future crop.

Assassinated by rising production costs and competition from overseas? Taiwanese pineapples sell very well, perhaps they could have tried to differentiate their products. I would rather they switch to another food crop instead of oil palm, but sadly if that is what the free market wants.