West Australians urged to go bananas for tickled fruit

Sweeter Banana Co-Operative Growers are urging West Australians to dig deep and buy Carnarvon Sweeter Bananas after ex-tropical cyclone Mangaa caused damage to the crops in Carnarvon. Growers are facing the double whammy of destroyed bunches and trees reducing the amount of production available and damage to the bunches left standing.

“The storm damaged a lot of trees and brought down a lot of bunches that were ready to harvest,” said Sweeter Banana Chairman, Chris Collins “The ones that are left have suffered some external damage so we have more fruit than usual with light skin markings. After growing the fruit for 15 months it’s heartbreaking to lose the bunches, but even more soul destroying to see fruit that is perfectly good to eat go to waste because of cosmetic reasons”

Sweeter Banana Business Manager Doriana Mangili said, “We have had so many messages of support from our consumers, so we are asking that they look past the light skin markings and buy Carnarvon Sweeter Bananas.” adding, “the markings impact on the skin and not the fruit inside, purchasing the fruit will stop thousands of kilos of fruit from going to waste.”

The Co-Operative is famous for the iconic premium Sweeter Lunchbox Banana sold across WA. In 2009 in response to a high level of waste fruit which fell outside of the co-ops specification for the lunchbox banana, the co-operative partnered with Coles and developed a product called Smoothies® for bananas that are “tickled by nature”. Recognising that the markings are only skin-deep WA consumers have been buying this fruit since inception in Coles WA stores.

Carnarvon bananas are grown close together to protect against the cooler winter nights, hotter summer days, sea breezes and low humidity conditions in Carnarvon. The method of growing and climate results in a slower growing fruit which is also sweeter and creamier. This also results in the leaves from trees rubbing on the fruit and creating skin markings. The strong winds from the storm and the number of trees brought down has increased the fruit with markings and the volumes of Smoothies® has tripled.

“Smoothies® have been such a great help to our growers. Since we developed the product over 2 million kilos of bananas have been eaten by Western Australians instead of being dumped back in the paddocks as mulch. The simple action of purchasing a less than perfect looking product has a real impact on farm incomes and reducing global food waste.” said Ms Mangili

Mr Collins added “Ex cyclone Mangga has set us back, but we avoided a total loss as occurred in 2015 when Tropical Cyclone Olwyn destroyed the entire crop. Since then, we have been busy replanting, and our 2021 volumes are still on the way up. We do have fruit to sell, some of it is a little more marked than usual, but people don’t eat the skins and the fruit inside is perfect.”

Source: Sweeter Banana Co-Operative Growers