While the reason to package fresh produce might be as simple as for customer convenience - so they can just pick up a bag of beans and be on their way, for some items there is more to it. This is the case for Australia’s Carnarvon grown bananas.
The Sweeter Banana Co-operative (SBC) was created to support Carnarvon banana growers who were trying to compete with Queensland producers, but they were losing the battle. In the 1960s the Carnarvon banana industry was thriving and held 100 per cent of the banana market in WA. But then north Queensland opened up as a growing region and Carnarvon couldn't compete. Queensland bananas are bigger, have a glossy shine and don't mark as easily as Carnarvon bananas.
But Carnarvon bananas are spray-free, sweeter, creamier and many will say they are the best when it comes down to taste. With banana growers struggling, a group of 50 producers decided to join forces in 2002 to create SBC. They knew some consumers liked the size of Carnarvon bananas as they fit perfectly into lunch boxes and Queensland bananas were too big. They were also a good portion size for children.
SBC manager Doriana Mangili said that by targeting these consumers and packaging Carnarvon bananas to clearly differentiate them from Queensland ones, SBC had created a market for their less prettier, but better tasting bananas and labelled them 'lunchbox bananas'.
But there was also another need to package. As Carnarvon bananas are grown in a sub-tropical climate, they have thinner skins than Queensland ones, which grow in tropical conditions, they are more fragile and therefore more prone to bruising once ripened.