Tag: Bananas

How NOT To Display Bananas

Aussie Bananas - Eye CandyI would hope that we at least could all agree on this – how NOT to display bananas. I took that photo a few years back at at the Victoria Market in Melbourne – and it was pretty clear that our Australian cousins were in ‘ample supply mode’ at the time.  That did not last for long. The Aussie banana supply situation fluctuates between ‘feast’ and ‘famine’ with regular monotony.

I guess the other thing all New Zealand banana merchants can agree on is that Australia is not New Zealand, particularly when it comes to bananas. For one, New Zealand is an open market whereas our West Island does not allow foreign bananas into the country. Then there is the fact that our bananas need to come by boat, regardless of whether they travel from Ecuador, Panama, the Philippines or elsewhere. Bananas for sale in Melbourne and Sydney come from ‘up the road’. Granted, it is a long road from Northern Queensland but it sure does not involve ports, ships, exchange rates or global brands with a mind of their own.

Regardless of all these facts though, a stable banana supply makes for a settled produce wholesale business. In New Zealand, in Australia and elsewhere. An unsettled banana supply situation causes grief. The nuances might vary from country to country but the net effect is always the same. And the state of the banana displays in our retail stores suggests to me that our banana supply situation is not as stable and/or balanced right now than it could be.

Would anyone care to comment on that?

New Zealand Banana Politics 2013 – First Installment

fyffe What might this be?  Well, it looks like a bunch of bananas.  It sure felt like a bunch of bananas and when I ate one, it certainly tasted like a banana.  Therefore it is a banana.  Case closed.

If only there wasn’t this little blue label on the fruit and that’s where matters  gets interesting.  You see, during the last ten years the New Zealand consumer has been used to seeing Bonita, Dole and Gracio branded bananas in supermarkets and greengrocers.  More recently, Fair Trade fruit has also made an appearance.

Bonita bananas, coming  from Ecuador, are imported by Turners & Growers, Dole bananas get here from the Philippines via a joint venture with MG Marketing and Countdown imports Gracio bananas, also from the Philippines.

Consumers care very little about banana politics.  As long as the fruit is the right colour, does not have bruises or stem rot and is priced reasonably, bananas will be purchased and consumed. Period. lrgscaleCoaster-Fyffes

Only – those of us who have a little inkling on how the produce industry works are left pondering how the Fyffe fruit got into the country in the first place; whether this was a once-off occasion or whether Fyffe will be a regular caller; how Luigi Noboa feels about this; what the impact on the wider banana pricing position will be as a result of someone deciding to mix matters up a little; whether overall volumes coming into the country were adjusted or whether the Fyffe fruit is ‘extra’….  You know, just a few minor considerations really….Yeah, right – to quote the Tui billboards.  Anyone interested in a historic perspective of the New Zealand banana business could do worse than following through here.

Sticker, Sticker On The Wall, Yesterday On Fruit & Today In The Mall

Once upon a time, there was a banana company.  After a chequered career using different names, the banana company settled on  a new name, which it has stuck with now for many decades.  That name is Chiquita. For many years Chiquita then focused on its banana business and eventually they thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if we put little Chiquita stickers on every banana leaving our plantations in Honduras, Panama and elsewhere?”  So they did.  Every once in a while they asked themselves the question again, which why one can now buy Chiquita pineapple, Chiquita mangoes and Chiquita ‘god knows what’, depending on which part of the world one lives.  In recent years Chiquita has been asking itself a few other questions which are captured as captions under the three photos that follow.  (Photos taken in Frankfurt, early February 2011)

How About We Take The Chiquita Sticker Into The High Street And Stick It On The Front Door?

What Else Could We Sell Our Adoring Public? Particularly In Winter?

And If We Provide Some Nice Bright Yellow Chairs, We Might Even Sell Some Bananas For Dessert!

The concept employed by Chiquita has a name – brand migration. It is often played at the corporate level and usually with mixed results. Companies engaged in playing the game usually end up learning a few hard lessons such as

  • Success depends on consumer perception and not on player desire
  • The rules of the game differ between supermarket aisles
  • PRODUCT marketing strategies and SERVICE marketing strategies are different beasts altogether

Nevertheless, success can be sweet.  I wonder how long the potato grower queue is who want to discuss supply agreements with Chiquita!?

I Have Been Shopping (I)

I would envisage that there will be quite a few entries with that title this year….

Anyway, I went shopping today at my local supermarket and inevitably, came across the banana display. Inevitably?  Well, firstly, its difficult to avoid bananas even in the always colourful produce department and secondly, I am preconditioned to buy bananas whenever I end up in a supermarket.  $2.99 per kilo the ticket said. 


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The West Island Banana Price Slump

The Australian ABC network ran a story on low banana prices in late May, stating that grower returns had dropped to A$5 a carton.  The story was picked up by Fresh Plaza, who being Dutchmen, managed to get their geography wrong and announced the story under the headline, “NZ: Bananas going dirt cheap”.  I have no problems with Australia being mistaken to be a part of New Zealand.  I refer to the Land  of OZ as our West Island quite frequently myself. 

The real news in this story is actually not that the Dutch are geographically challenged, but that Australian growers have discovered what to them seems to be a new revalation altogether.

Far North Queensland grower Doug Phillips is being qoted as saying,  he is “still sending fruit to market, but only the pick of the bunch.  We’re only sending the very best of the bunch, we’re not sending any large or mediums. If there’s any marks on it at all it’s getting thrown out.”

Well fancy that.  Australian fruit growers have discovered that one can maintain prices by “only sending the pick of the bunch” to market.  I wonder how long before they trying to patent that highly exciting bit of new knowledge they have gained  and try to sell it to us?

:)