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Demand for bananas remains uncertain

Supplies of bananas in Canada are currently steady.

Joe Nobrega with Toronto, Canada-based Meschino Banana Co. Ltd. notes that supplies are coming in largely from South American countries including Costa Rica, Colombia and Honduras. “Supplies of bananas have their ups and downs. Usually from January to maybe the middle of May, bananas are tight. And the demand might be a little higher,” says Nobrega. “Then, once we approach June, they become more available and there’s less demand.”

This year of course, demand is different thanks to the effect of COVID-19. “Demand has been funny this year. When this started, demand was high. People were stocking up on bananas, even though you can’t really stock up on bananas. I didn’t understand why we were selling so much at the time. That lasted about five to six weeks,” says Nobrega.

Pandemic-related demand
This week though, demand looks lower and Nobrega notes it’s slightly lower than demand at this time last year. On top of that, the lack of foodservice has also touched Meschino as it has many companies. “There are a lot of companies servicing schools and shut ins, etc. who have nowhere to distribute the bananas they’re contracted to buy. It’s affected us only a bit--we’ve lost about 15 percent of those sales,” says Nobrega.

Meanwhile pricing is higher than last year at this time. “Pricing spiked once COVID-19 started and the prices were ones I’d never seen before. It was maybe 30-40 percent higher than it should be at this time of year,” says Nobrega. “Prices have started coming down a bit but it’s still higher than it should be at this time of year.”

Looking ahead, Nobrega notes that he’s unsure as to what to expect. “If this were a regular year, I’d expect to sell more with the demand continuing as it is now. Usually that continues until the end of June. Then demand dies but the supplies are still there and prices drop considerably,” he says. “But right now, nobody knows. Not even the store owners know what to buy because they only allow so many customers into their store at one time.”

For more information:
Joe Nobrega
Meschino Banana Company
Tel. +1 (416) 654-7122

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