Bananas are an easy sell because it seems there is no group that doesn’t buy them. There is little difference in purchasing patterns based on income level or region of the country. However, banana sales have dipped slightly the past two years, showing that there is a need to continue to promote them.
- Bananas provide a host of health benefits, the most well-known of which is their high potassium levels. Potassium helps prevent high blood pressure. Bananas also contain Vitamin C, which has been shown to help prevent cancer. B6, is an immune-system booster that can help in the formation of red blood cells, is also found in bananas.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for bananas: fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, a good source of fiber, a good source of vitamin C, a good source of vitamin B-6, and a good source of potassium.
- Encourage consumers to think of bananas as something more than a snack by using tie-ins. Cross-merchandise bananas with pie-making materials, loaf pans, whipped cream, vanilla wafers, cereal, yogurt and ice cream.
- Bananas are available year-round, so include them in promotions throughout the calendar year.
- Fall: Back to school time is the perfect time to move bananas. The easy-peeling fruit is a nutritious and well-loved addition to the lunch box.
- Winter: Bananas make a great addition to holiday fruit salads and fruit baskets. Promote them as a healthy snack to those whose New Year’s resolution is to get fit. Bananas’ high potassium level allows you to point out the health benefits of bananas. They make a great workout recovery snack.
- Spring: Bananas’ bright yellow color makes them a natural when spring moves in. Promote them as a great on-the-go snack as people start to get outdoors again. Include them in Easter and Mother’s Day promotions.
- Summer: Promote bananas as a fantastic flavor for summertime smoothies. Create a banana split promotion that includes bananas, ice cream and toppings to tap into that summertime spirit.
- Offer discounts on scarred or overripe bananas to move as much product as you can. Those looking to use them in banana bread or banana pudding will buy them.
- Offer samples of specialty bananas to introduce consumers to their unique flavors. Include preparation and cooking tips with their purchase.
- Bananas bright yellow color makes them an instant eye-catcher. Place your banana display where it is sure to get some notice.
- If your store caters to large Hispanic or Asian populations, include specialty varieties targeted to those ethnic groups in your display.
- Nobody likes a mushy banana, so avoid stacking the bunches on the display. Place them in a single layer and remove bananas that show large blemishes and bruises.
- Include both ripe yellow bananas and greener less ripe bananas on your display. Some consumers will buy both – to eat now and later.
- Offer a secondary banana display near the checkout to encourage impulse sales.
- Make bananas the base of your tropicals display. Use consumers’ familiarity with bananas to draw them in to learn about other tropical. Use plenty of signs to encourage consumers to purchase other tropical fruits along with their bananas. Place stuffed monkeys and tropical plants around the display to draw the eye of the shopper.
- Bananas are a fantastic flavor for dessert. Banana cream pie and banana pudding are long-time favorites, but you can also fry or caramelize bananas to create a more upscale dessert.
- For a unique and flavorful side dish, consider offering specialty bananas.
- Include bananas in salads and on salad bars as well as on breakfast buffets.
In The Backroom
40-lb. boxes/cartons RPC 6419 Foodservice Smaller bananas, called petites, institutional packs or singles, commonly are packed in a 150-count box, which generally weighs about 50 pounds.
Bananas are subject to no official U.S. grade standards. Bananas generally are considered No. 1 “premium” by major banana companies as part of their own grading standards. Smaller bananas sometimes are graded No. 2.
Gray-yellow or dull yellow bananas, an indicator of improper temperature handling, lose eye-appeal but not taste unless severely mishandled. Off-color bananas may work well cut up in fruit salads or used in recipes in the deli and bakery departments. Bananas are susceptible to scarring and bruising if roughly handled. Promptly unload container delivery trucks with care. Never drop, roll or tip boxes. Do not stack on wet floors. Leave them on a pallet for protection from damp floors and for even air circulation. Do not place heavy objects on top of cartons. Ripening Bananas are picked off the plant green and shipped under refrigeration to wholesalers. Wholesalers ripen the fruit for about four days before shipping to the end user. The ripening process cannot be accelerated at this stage or quality may be sacrificed. Ripening rooms, which can closely control the heat from respiration during ripening in the 58 to 64 F pulp temperature range, and ethylene gas, which is a natural byproduct of bananas, are used to obtain uniform ripening. Although the ripening process begins in a ripening room, retailers can slow or speed the process to achieve the best color. To speed ripening if bananas are too green, leave them in the box stacked on top of each other. To slow ripening, take the lids off the boxes, open the plastic liner and air-stack or stagger-stack the boxes to ventilate them. Air-stack boxes no more than four high to avoid crushing. Bananas are extremely susceptible to fluctuating temperatures. Do not expose them to extremes of cold or heat. Avoid setting containers in drafts, near heating vents, windows or motors. Temperature to store: 56 to 58 F, 13.3 to 14.4 C Temperature for ripening: 60 to 65 F, 15.6 to 18.3 C Relative humidity: 90-95% Mist: no Typical shelf life: 3 to 7 days (ripened, depending on conditions) Ethylene-sensitive. Do not store or transport with commodities that produce ethylene. Highly sensitive to freezing injury. Susceptible to chilling injury if kept below 56 F, 13.3 C. Damage sometimes is not apparent until the produce is returned to a higher temperature.
- 75% of consumers say they purchased bananas in the past 12 months, down from 82% last year.
- Consumers with three kids at home were the most likely to purchase bananas.
- Bananas are popular across all ethnic demographics, but are much less popular with African American consumers.
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