Dole Fresh Fruit, Westlake Village, Calif., is the nation’s largest distributor of Cavendish bananas, but the company also sees growth in its other bananas products.
“These types of bananas are becoming more prevalent not just at specialty and ethnic retailers, but at mainstream supermarkets alongside the conventional cavendish bananas, which still remain the most popular variety,” said Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Dole. “As these specialty varieties become more mainstream, we are starting to fold them into our consumer-facing and retailer programs in the form of web content, PR outreach and consumer and retailer collateral. These specialty products are also a big hit at our media and blogger events attended by foodies, culinary experts, chefs, registered dietitians and other ambassadors. Often, it is this audience that is the catalyst for new food trends.”
Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing for Del Monte Fresh Produce, Coral Gables, Fla., said other factors contributing to the growth of specialty bananas are consumers developing more sophisticated taste profiles, trends in healthy eating and increasing interest in exotic foods.
Schueller said one added benefit of specialty bananas for retailers is longer shelf life because they don’t ripen as quickly as the Cavendish.