The Source of the 19¢ Banana

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Trader Joe’s shoppers are probably familiar with the store’s incredible deal on bananas- 19¢ apiece for conventionally grown and 29¢ for organic. I’ve thrown many a bunch in my cart, happy to get a low price for such a healthy and tasty snack. Have you ever stopped to think about how that banana got to the store and how they can possibly be so cheap? I admit, I hadn’t really, until I took a trip to Costa Rica (sponsored by Dole) to check out their banana and pineapple plantations and shipping operations. It’s nothing short of astounding.

Dole is the #1 producer of bananas for the US and Japan with 34% and 32% of the market share, respectively. They’ve got 9% of the market in Europe. Worldwide they sold approximately 153 million boxes of them in 2010. Those bananas come from Honduras, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala and Peru, growing on approximately 32,000 acres of company-owned farms and around 71,500 acres of independent producers’ farms. 2-3% of the bananas sold are organic. (See Dole’s 2010 Annual Report for more info)

Believe it or not, from the fields to the packing, almost every component of getting those bananas ready is done by hand. How can it possibly be so cheap? And what’s the environmental impact?

Author: Laura B.

I'm the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Sustainability Information Curator, which is a fancy way of saying embedded librarian. I'm also Executive Director of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. When not writing for Environmental News Bits, I'm an avid reader. Visit Laura's Reads to see what I'm currently reading.

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