The cavendish banana came to the industry’s rescue in the 1950s when the popular and dominant Gros Michel variety succumbed to Panama Disease. The cavendish has become ubiquitous in a category worth more than $3 billion a year in the United States, but an alternative may be on the way.
Fruit Logistica recently recognized the Uurú, a banana being imported to Europe from Ecuador by Hamburg, Germany-based Internationale Fruchtimport Gesellschaft Weichert GmbH & Co. KG, as one of its product innovation nominees.
The company, Europe’s second-largest banana importer, said in a news release that the Uurú banana belongs to the cavendish family, but its flavor and consistency are “strongly reminiscent” of the Gros Michel. The Uurú has firm flesh and an intense, sweet flavor when the tips of the fruit are still green.
The importer said the bananas are organic, and the grower has implemented a new water filter system that uses up to 50% less water than traditional cultivation methods. Only renewable energy sources are used, according to the release, and the variety requires less land than the cavendish.
“The response to the banana has been so positive that we’d now like to introduce it to consumers in other European countries,” marketing manager Ralph Fischer said in the release.
Fisher said the fruit will not be sold in the U.S. before 2015 due to limited volume.