Interview with Craig Carlson, President of ONE BANANA North America

US: Committed to a better banana

“Our mission at ONE BANANA is to be a better banana company that is transparent and connects with the consumer,” says Craig Carlson, ONE BANANA North America President. After the launch of the ONE BANANA brand in August last year, the company made three commitments in support of becoming that better banana company. “First, we want to find a way of growing and nurturing a high-quality banana. Our bananas are grown in the best micro-climates, on prosperous volcanic soils in Guatemala and Ecuador. As a result, yields are amongst the highest in the world and the quality is outstanding,” mentioned Carlson. Altogether, ONE BANANA has a total of 17,500 acres of banana plantations in the two countries. The company will expand into Peru this year and Panama within the next few years. 

Protecting the environment
ONE BANANA’s second goal is to use the latest technology to protect the fruit and the environment. “One hundred percent of our farms are Rainforest Alliance certified. This is unique in our industry,” said Carlson. “Additionally, we utilize recyclable bags around our bananas and we have implemented new irrigation techniques to reuse our water.”

Care for employees and communities
The third commitment is to take care of the company’s 8,000 employees and their communities. “We want to create better opportunities for our employees, their families and their communities,” said Carlson. He talked about the promise that ONE BANANA made regarding water filter programs. “As part of our Safe Water Project, in the past two years, 700 households have received new water filters that give them access to clean water.” Another initiative is the Human Development Center medical clinic, opened by ONE BANANA in Guatemala in partnership with the University of Colorado. Since opening last year, the clinic has serviced over 1,000 patients in 12 communities and provides medical assistance, has onsite research laboratory, and a pharmacy. 

Nutritious School Snacks Program
“We also launched our Nutritious School Snacks program,” added Carlson. In partnership with government institutions, civil society and local elementary schools in rural Guatemala, the company donates bananas to the children throughout the school year. The program, which was founded in 2013, now benefits a total of 17 schools. In total, ONE BANANA has invested $5 million between 2012 and 2014 to improve the well-being of 18 communities.

Consumer connection
The ONE BANANA brand was launched with the objective to educate the consumer on their banana. “We tell a transparent story about the growers and their communities,” said Carlson. “This story connects our consumers with their product, which makes us distinctly different.”

ONE BANANA is owned by AgroAmerica, a company that has been around for forty years. Eight years ago, the company started distributing to retailers directly, which resulted in substantial growth. 

For more information:
Allison Tebbano

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