Pratt's Bananas:

"UK: "Bananas de Mexico suitable for all of our customer's needs"

S.H. Pratt & Co is one of Europe’s leading fruit importers and ripeners specialising in bananas and pineapples. With over five decades of experience, the company imports, ripens and supplies only the highest quality fruit for the UK market. In recent times, it started a collaboration with the brand "Bananas de Mexico". FreshPlaza interviewed Jakub Kostka, Head of Procurement by S.H. Pratt & Co, about this new import activity.

FreshPlaza (FP) - Did you already know about Bananas de Mexico?
Jakub Kostka (JK) - Our trading partnership is not long but has proven to be very successful so far. Prior to that we have known Bananas de Mexico by reputation based on our European colleagues experience.


Plantation.

FP - When did you visit the production sites?
JK - I have literally just returned from Mexico two weeks ago where I undertook some intensive audits on the farms as well as getting an in depth overview of the whole operation.


Finca San Carlos.

FP - What impressed you the most?
JK - To be honest having not done business with any Mexican banana producer in the past, rightly or wrongly my perception was that Mexico was not high on the list of the best producers in Latin America. However, this perception was very quickly quashed as soon as I understood more about the San Carlos business and their fruit. It is fair to say that San Carlos is as good, if not better than many other established growers in the regions that we currently source from.


Stem train.

FP - For which markets are the Bananas de Mexico more suitable?
JK - With their range and availability I would say that target market opportunities are unlimited. Each market has its own specifics however from our experience so far we find San Carlos' bananas suitable for all of our customers applications in the UK. Considering the high number of quality details we record for all arrivals and the subsequent high scores achieved by the fruit, I would recommend using Bananas de Mexico for anyone who is looking for quality and focus.


Bananas bath.

FP - Which are your main markets at the moment? What volume per year are you managing?
JK - UK only – we supply circa 10 mill 18kg LCE equivalents to the UK per year, serving 22% approx. of the UK market.


Packhouse.

FP - How is demand in the banana sector is evolving?

JK - Overall banana volume is showing marginal decline of just over 1% by volume. This is due to competition from a wider range of fruit available. However, bananas are the 4th most popular produce item in UK shopping baskets behind only Apples, Grapes and Tomatoes accounting for annual sales of £576.3m.


Packhouse.

FP - What is the transit time from Mexico to Europe?
JK - In the current setup it is comparable with Ecuador at 21 days into the UK however from my understanding San Carlos is in the process of negotiations with shipping lines to have a direct and more efficient connection to Europe.


Packhouse.

FP - How important is to be supported by some promotional activities from the producers/exporters themselves in the bananas business?
JK - All retailers are looking to increase sales by promotional activities. Although particularly in the UK banana brand recognition is not the key to increased sales, any form of good PR on bananas can only do everyone in the industry a big favour.

Contacts:
S.H. Pratt & Co. (Bananas) Ltd

Tel.: +44 1582 436500
Web: www.shpratt.com
Email: jakubkostka@shpratt.com

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