Banana supplies steady

10/15/2013 02:59:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Banana supplies have been steady for most of 2013, which has led to an increase in sales, suppliers say.

“2013 has been one of the better years for bananas,” said Bill Sheridan, executive vice president of sales for Banacol Marketing Corp., Coral Gables, Fla.

“It’s due in part to the very consistent supplies for bananas that we haven’t seen for several years. That’s the secret of the business,” Sheridan said.

Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Dole Fresh Fruit, Westlake Village, Calif., agreed that this has been a good year so far.

“Markets for bananas have been strong this year. Supply remains robust, which is very good in continuing to ensure our customers receive the highest quality fruit that they are accustomed to from Dole,” Goldfield said.

Steady supplies have helped boost sales in typically slower times of the year.

In fact, Sheridan describes the supplies this year as bumping up sales during the usual summer slow months.

“Usually in July, there’s a downward trend is sales, but this year we aren’t seeing a downward trend whatsoever. It’s really a pleasant surprise,” he said.

The steady supplies have been helpful in keeping prices even.

“Pricing has been consistent and stable this year, which looks to continue,” Goldfield said.

“Part of the shopping mindset is that pricing is still very important, but instead of checking the ads every week, people like to shop at stores where they know there will be consistent prices for a consistent color and quality of bananas,” Sheridan said.

Suppliers hope these trends continue in the future.

Sheridan said he expects to see more consumers keep bananas on their shopping list.

“Bananas are making a comeback, so to speak,” he said.

Mexico

Mayra Velazquez de Leon, president of Organics Unlimited, San Diego, said a recent weather event in Mexico could cause some issues, however.

“Two hurricanes hit Mexico, and a lot of banana and fruit farms were damaged,” she said.

Hurricanes Ingrid and Manuel hit Mexico on opposite coasts within a day of each other, starting September 15.

“Some states were more damaged than others,” Velazquez de Leon said.

“We were in Colima, and a lot of the farms were underwater,” she said.

Still, if the ground drains, not all will be lost, and she said she hoped for a good season.



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