Over the past 2.5 years, the maximum promotional prices for bananas in Poland have increased by almost 41 percent. The largest increases were seen in cash & carry chains. They amounted to nearly 250 percent. In turn, the average price decreased by just over 5 percent. Decreases were recorded in megastores - by 25 percent, discount stores - by 18 percent, and in supermarkets - by 7 percent. Meanwhile, the industry complains that the lowest prices on the market do not include shipping to Europe, customs and ripening costs. Experts also pointed out that cheap bananas increase the number of receipts by several dozen percent a week.
Julita Pryzmont, Business Development and Communication Director at Hiper-Com Poland, said that in 2017-2018 adverse weather conditions occurred in Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala, and less fruit got to Europe. Additionally, this year, growers in Colombia are fighting the Fusarium fungus, which is deadly for banana trees. As a result, bananas became more expensive.
In contrast, Marcin Lenkiewicz, an expert of the Healthy Shopping app, notes that maximum prices often apply to better quality bananas. It is likely that for over two years, retail chains have been able to attract customers who pay particular attention to products referred to as "premium". For a demanding consumer, the price is not the most important thing and thus stores can raise it.
The largest increases were recorded at cash & carry chains, by as much as 247.8 percent. In supermarkets they amounted to only 2 percent. However, prices fell in megastores - by 5.40 percent, as well as in discount stores - by 40.08 percent. The latter format represents the largest network in Poland - Biedronka. It has great negotiating power, which is why this channel's decline could have been so big, Hiper-Com Poland's expert said.
Average promotional prices in turn fell by 5.01 percent in the same period. According to Andrzej Hajduk from Artfoods, a company importing fruit from all over the world, there was a slight reduction because competing networks are forcing larger and more frequent discounts on their suppliers. In recent years, a fierce struggle of stores for regular customers has been observed in the Polish market. Banana has become a fruit that is used to attract them. Its price is often lower than the cost of acquisition. As a perishable commodity, it must be sold immediately after ripening. By buying it, for example every other day, the consumer also reaches for other products with an inflated margin.
The analysis shows that the minimum promotional prices increased by just 0.28 percent. Chains are ensuring that their offers are attractive. The popularity of bananas and the high frequency of buying makes it profitable to sell them cheap. Discounts on this product increase the number of shopping receipts by up to several dozen percent a week.
As Hajduk said, importers and ripening plants must meet the expectations of low prices in retail chains in Poland. So they seek savings by importing fruit not directly from plantations, but waiting for surpluses from Western Europe. Then, they buy goods below their value. Overproduction in the world is so large that it's a viable way of operating for most of the year.