Bananas Are How Much?

We sat down with produce merchandiser Dot Benham, to answer our most frequently asked questions about bananas.

Over the years we’ve received a few member comments asking why our conventional bananas are priced the same as our organic bananas. We sat down with produce merchandiser Dot Benham, to answer our most frequently asked questions about bananas.

So Dot, why does the Co-op have both organic and conventional bananas priced the same?

The reason we price organic and conventional bananas at .99¢/lb is because this price represents the true cost of bananas. Because bananas are one of the most popular fruits, grocery stores traditionally use them as a loss leader, the bananas are sold at or below cost, and stores promote this pricing to draw in customers.

Why is conventional pricing of bananas so unrealistic?

Conventional bananas are usually grown on large plantations, who pay extremely low wages to the farmworkers. Bananas are a very labor intensive crop, from picking to processing, to shipping, human labor is in every step. So a low price, does not cover the true cost of growing bananas.

So why do we carry non-conventional bananas?

We offer fair trade organic bananas whenever possible, and offer conventional bananas at the same price as a supplement when we are not able to source fair trade organic bananas at the optimum yellow color and ripeness.

What makes the fair trade organic bananas better?

The pricing for fair trade organic bananas represents the true cost of bananas. Every time a fair trade banana is purchased, shoppers support fair trade and small producer cooperatives. The Co-op pays a social premium of $1.00 per box of bananas, this premium then goes straight to the small farmer cooperatives. The small farmer cooperatives use this premium to build or improve schools, medical facilities, and other projects for their communities.

Want to learn more about fair trade bananas? Check out this interactive web documentary, Beyond the Seal, supported by our fair trade banana partner, Equal Exchange.

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Emily Rogers

Emily Rogers

Emily Rogers is the Co-op's member education manager. Contact her at erogers at coopfoodstore dot com.