Individually film-wrapped bananas are being test-marketed at more than two dozen 7-Eleven convenience stores in Dallas.
The bananas are delivered wrapped in a plastic film developed by Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc., Miami.
The film, dubbed controlled ripening technology packaging by Del Monte, reduces bruising, controls ripening and extends shelf life up to five days, said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing.
The single finger bananas “give significant advantages to the convenience store operators by ensuring that they have an optimal quality product that lasts longer and reduces their overall costs,” he said.
Another advantage is the product’s positive impact on the environment, Christou said.
“The film is recyclable, and we’re also working on alternative packaging with enhanced recycling capabilities,” he said.
In addition, the extended shelf life reduces shrinkage and minimizes deliveries, which cuts fuel costs, Christou said.
Positive results from the test marketing could lead to the stocking of the single finger bananas at all of 7-Eleven’s nearly 5,800 U.S. stores by early next year.. The convenience store chain will sell more than 27 million bananas this year, according to its parent company Southland Corp.’s projections.
There is no concern at Del Monte, however, that increased sales of single bananas will reduce volume in grocery markets, Christou said.
“We feel this is a channel where there are still tremendous opportunities for growth, an impulse channel where consumers seek snack products,” he said. “In the past, the fresh produce opportunities in those channels have been relatively limited.”
The Del Monte Natural Energy Snack on the Go bananas are available in a 40-pound bulk box, a 40 pound quad-pack and a 10-pound display-ready box. The company also offers a stand-up counter display.