School’s back – Bananas are ready to go!
01 January 2017
We celebrate Nature’s own Snack-in-a-pack.
Summer holidays are coming to an end, and that dreaded phrase Back to School is hanging over the nation’s children. Once the school shoes and stationery are sorted, the contents of the daily lunch box need to be addressed.
And banana sales start to soar.
Bananas stay tight and fresh in their own packaging, fitting neatly inside the lunch box. They are sweet, filling, full of vitamins, and also very convenient as they need no preparation. And kids love them.
A versatile fruit, the banana lends itself well to whatever is trending. Low in fat but high in carbohydrates, it can be served very simply in a smoothie as part of the Clean Eating movement. In more complex recipes, bananas can be eaten in both sweet and savoury dishes such as Eton Mess or Thai Curry!
This summer fashions and textiles have featured tropical prints, with flowers, fruits and birds in lush colours. The banana has been a prominent design motif, particularly in children’s wear. So the kids in their banana shirts are getting the message – Bananas are great!
Over 100 billion bananas are eaten around the world every year; on average 12 kg per person!
In the process of bringing bananas from the grower to the supermarket, timing is critical. From harvest to shipping can take around 3 weeks, after which the fruits are taken to ripening centres in their European destinations. A week later they arrive in store.
Maintaining consistently high quality during this time is complex. Harvesting protocols in the tropics, ripening programmes in the European centres, volume planning across the supply chain and the handling of bananas in the supermarket all play an important role.
When customers buy bananas, they are looking for perfect colour in store, and good shelf life after purchasing. Nobody wants their bananas to turn brown or grey within a couple of days. Nor do they want to have to purchase fruits which are still green, and fail to ripen properly at home.
We evaluate the quality of bananas in stores, and we combine those findings with analysis of eating quality in our laboratory. This provides a complete picture of banana quality, helping to fine tune the different processes that are critical to successful sales.
Bananas are an important and very stable category in the fresh produce department. Their health-giving properties are well documented; they are known to be a good source of potassium, soothing tryptophan and Vitamin B6, to name but a few.
Banana consumption is lower during the summer, but when the kids go back to school, volumes pick up again. As September approaches, quality control for bananas becomes very important once more.
At Innovative Fresh, “Back to School” also means “Back to Bananas!”