Commodity: Plantains


Commodity Overview

Plantain sales have grown slowly but steadily over the past few years. This member of the banana family has long been popular with ethnic populations, but it is gaining ground with other shoppers as well. Promote it well and it can add to your bottom line.


This commodity is not typically marketed by variety.


  • Although plantains may not be familiar to everyone, they do offer some familiar health benefits. Plantains are a good source of vitamin C, which leads to a robust immune system and helps prevent cancer. They contain potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. Fiber is plentiful in plantains. Fiber aids in digestion. Plantains contain vitamin A, which can help prevent eye diseases.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for plantains: fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, a good source of fiber, a good source of vitamin C, and a good source of potassium.

Sales Strategies

  • Plantains cross-merchandise well with other traditional Hispanic foods like tomatillos, salsa ingredients and tortilla shells.
  • Plantains are available year-round so include them in promotions across the calendar.
  • Fall: Promote making plantain chips as a great addition to school lunches.
  • Winter: Encourage consumers to think of plantains as a hearty side dish for winter meals.
  • Spring: Include plantains in Cinco de Mayo promotions.
  • Summer: Add plantains to grilling promotions. Plantains make a refreshing grilled side dish for summertime meals.
  • Sampling is key to introducing plantains to consumers who are unfamiliar with the fruit.

Dynamic Displays

  • Like bananas, plantains can bruise easily. Be careful when placing them on the display and avoid stacking.
  • Educate consumers that plantains turn black when ripe so they won’t mistake them for spoiled fruit.
  • Display plantains with other tropicals, especially bananas. However, clearly label them so consumers don’t confuse them with bananas.
  • Consider offering larger quantities of plantains if your area caters to Hispanic or Caribbean shoppers.
  • Include recipes and preparation tips on your display to make sure consumers know plantains should be cooked and not eaten raw.

Food Service

  • Fry plantains and serve them as chips or in strips as a side dish.
  • Bake plantains and serve them with butter and chili sauce.
  • Use plantains as a side dish for Mexican entrees.
  • Grilled plantains make a unique side dish.
  • Add plantain chips to your children’s menu as a healthier substitute for fries.

In The Backroom


25-lb. boxes/cartons 50-lb. boxes/cartons RPC -- 6416, 6419, 6420


Plantains are subject to no official U.S. grade standards.


Temperature: 45-55 F (7-13 C) Relative humidity: 90% Mist: No Typical shelf life: 21 days Ethylene sensitive. Do not store or transport with commodities that produce ethylene. Susceptible to chilling injury if kept below 45 F (7 C) for seven days.


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