Why the price of bananas stays low and steady

Published: 27 February 2024

Although bananas are not immune to price spikes, as seen recently due to poor harvests, the desire of retailers to keep them affordable and an efficient production chain largely explain why the popular fruit remains among the most accessible in the supermarket year round, agronomist and economist Pascal Thériault, McGill Farm Management and Technology Program Director, told La Presse.

“The banana was developed with practically a single variety, the Cavendish,” he says. “It is a fruit that grows easily, which is very homogeneous, which is very predictable over time. The places where it is grown—especially in Central America—have no seasons.”

He also notes that Dole, Chiquita and Del Monte have created infrastructure in exporting countries to facilitate marketing of the yellow fruit.

It is a fruit that sells well and is easy to store. Since the peel is thick, you don't need to wrap and overwrap it.

Add to that the “less than ideal” working conditions associated with its cultivation and you have all the ingredients to keep prices low.

But with abundant monoculture production, as well as the risks of disease, is there a danger that one day the famous Cavendish will no longer be available? Yes, Pascal Thériault believes: according to him, consumers will inevitably have to get used to buying other varieties.

“We're going to have to get used to eating a banana that tastes different from what we're used to,” he warns.

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