Imported bananas are arriving in healthy volumes.
“Supply of bananas at the moment is good. We had a delay in the summer fruit so we have a lot of fruit on the market,” says José Hernandez with Bananera Muchachita based in McAllen, Tex. “We also have more fruit than the year before.”
Hernandez says that supplies of bananas are coming in right now from Guatemala, Ecuador and Mexico. “Competition wise, at least in the US market, we did see more product coming in from Guatemala,” says Hernandez, who adds that Bananera is just finishing up a new packing house in Tabasco, Mexico with 60 more hectares of banana land. Demand meanwhile is coming from all over North America as well as parts of Europe.
As far as pricing goes, Hernandez does see weekly fluctuations on market pricing right now. “Prices come and go every week based on things like Mother Nature’s effect on bananas and the buyers,” he says. “Some buyers stop buying some weeks in one region and then it impacts the local price.”
Looking ahead, he anticipates a tighter supply is on its way. “At the end of the year some companies start buying more bananas so then there’s a shortage on fruit,” Hernandez says, noting Bananera is currently packing single bananas and four individual boxes of 10 lbs. packed in a 40 lb. box.
He also looks to the future at some of the challenges facing the banana business. “The biggest challenges by far are coping with Mother Nature during the first few months of the year and then surviving the price wars during the rest of the year,” he says. At the same time, consumption trends of bananas are changing. “Nowadays with the new generations with different diets and less planning ahead of eating, we think they might not consume as many bananas,” says Hernandez.