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Banana movement stays steady while plantain market gains strength

The supply of bananas is stable at the moment with supplies largely coming from Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico. "There hasn't been a great change in supply or demand from the beginning of the year to now," says Andy Thomas-Stivalet of Kadivac Produce, adding that supply is similar to last year at this time. "Fewer promotions are going on right now though."

Still, pricing is relatively high right now indicating that while there's fruit available, there's no excess supply. It's also anticipated to stay that way in the near future. "We're coming off of two years of pretty drastic price increases for bananas which were necessary. Now they've stopped but not because the prices are where they should be but because there were a lot of offers coming from Costa Rica and Ecuador to the U.S.," says Thomas-Stivalet.

Banana pricing is relatively high right now.

That's because while Ecuador lost some business in Russia due to the war on Ukraine and in Costa Rica, many farms were no longer able to export to Europe because of regulations around pesticides and other chemicals that went into effect this year. "So a lot of people were offering their fruit in the U.S. this year. That halted the rate of price increases," says Thomas-Stivalet.

That said, it's undetermined how much of that fruit made it to the U.S. "People shuffled around a bit but not a lot. Retailers such as Aldi picked up some new suppliers into the U.S. So we started this year in a weird situation with this extra possible fruit that we're not sure how much actually materialized."

Looking ahead
On supply, more supply is expected heading into the summer. Also what happens with spot market pricing will indicate the direction for next year. "If it doesn't get too low, then there's less supply than expected. If it goes lower, there's possibly too much contracted supply. We're somewhere in between," he says.

Where he does see changes happening is in plantains. "We have more plantains coming online," says Thomas-Stivalet, adding more supply is particularly coming from Mexico. "People are always looking for them now and they are willing to pay a premium for them. Pricing right now is higher than last year, even on the annual contracts, and sometimes by even $6/box. That means people are also interested in growing and selling them."

Right: More plantains are coming online.

However, while demand continues to grow, supply will grow at a slower rate given that larger retailers want plantains to be certified as sustainably grown via Global GAP, Rainforest Alliance, etc. Ensuring that farms are certified takes time–particularly plantain farms which tend to be smaller.

For more information:
Andy Thomas-Stivalet
Kadivac Produce
Tel: (+52) 962-625-3303
[email protected]