Going Bananas at the Co-op

March is Banana Month at the Co-op! Want the best bananas in the business? Look for the ones with the red-and-white Equal Exchange sticker on the peel.

Here at the Co-op, we’ve noticed several types of banana lovers:


Ripe, shmipe, green aficionados say. These hearty, intrepid souls see vast potential and aren’t put out by a fruit’s immaturity.


A solid, pragmatic banana fan with no time to waste. Yellow lovers have been known to peel and eat their purchase before it even makes it to the car.


Getting gutsy now. Brown fans are a rare, yet focused, banana consumer. Let those babies overripen, they say. You can bet there’s a banana bread in someone’s future.

Equal Exchange Organic Fair Trade Bananas

There are all sorts of banana fans, of course, and with good reason. Sweet, ubiquitous, multipurpose, and packed with a nutrient-rich punch, bananas are the most consumed fruit in the world (along with their cousin, the plantain). That said, not all bananas are alike. Quality varies, the history of the banana industry isn’t so sweet, and many bananas come to the rich food markets of the West on the backs of children and exploited labor.

Want great bananas from people who you can trust to do the right thing? Go with Co-op bananas from Equal Exchange! Look for Equal Exchange bananas in any of our food stores. You can identify them by the red-and-white sticker on the peel.

Why do we recommend Equal Exchange bananas? Read on.

Authentic Fair Trade: A Better Banana

March is Banana Month at the Co-op, and our friends at Equal Exchange and their cooperative, fair-trade banana growers have elevated the humble banana to new heights.

The average American eats more than 26 pounds of bananas per year. Unfortunately, the banana industry that many consumers unknowingly support is notorious for exploiting labor and butchering natural resources.

Equal Exchange organic bananas are different. Equal Exchange is a worker-owned co-op in Massachusetts and a pioneer in authentic fair trade.

Through the authentic fair trade model, fair prices are paid to farmers in developing countries who grow much of the food we eat. Across the globe, fair trade farmers are organized into small, democratically owned and controlled cooperatives dedicated to caring for the land and improving the lives of the people in their communities.

Equal Exchange works directly with progressive small farmer banana cooperatives in Peru and Ecuador. When you buy Equal Exchange organic bananas, you support authentic fair trade and make the choice to connect yourself to these small farmer cooperatives. You also know exactly where your bananas come from, who grows them, and how they are produced and processed.

Social Premium Fund

In addition to ensuring fair prices for farmers, supporting fair trade also contributes to the Social Premium Fund—an innovative, democratically controlled fund that goes directly back to the growers and their communities. Growers vote on how to divide the Social Premium Fund between healthcare, education, and environmental projects.

The fund is financed by a one-dollar premium, paid by importers, on each 40-pound box of fair trade bananas sold. What does that mean? In 2014, for instance, consumers purchased 13.6 million Equal Exchange bananas. That translates to more than $2.4 million paid directly to small-scale, cooperative banana farmers, and $170,000 paid to the Social Premium Fund.

Learn More

Questions? Feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Email the Co-op Outreach Department at comment@coopfoodstore.com. In the meantime, check out the education displays in our stores, enjoy banana sampling events throughout the month of March, and try Equal Exchange Bananas today!

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Ken Davis

Ken Davis is the Co-op's senior copywriter. Email him at kdavis@coopfoodstore.com.