Del Monte is to sell bananas in plastic packaging.
The company will offer single bananas individually wrapped in packaging designed to prolong the shelf life of the fruit.
Marketed with the slogan ‘Natural Energy Snack on the Go', the Del Monte bananas will be sold in gyms, garages and leisure centers, the aim being to attract impulse buyers looking for a quick energy boost.
The Del Monte banana packaging is currently being trialled in a small number of outlets in both the US and the UK.
Controlled Ripening Technology
The packaging uses Controlled Ripening Technology (CRT), which the company already uses in its 1.3kg bag. the idea is that the banana is put in the bag when it is still green, and the CRT controls the rate at which the banana ripens, with the company claiming that this will extend the banana's shelf life by six days.
Environmental groups have criticised the packaging, saying it needlessly creates extra packaging waste as well as making a cheap product more expensive. UK newspaper the Daily Mail claims that in the US the individually wrapped bananas are selling for one dollar each, more than a loose banana.
"This is a backwards step which will contribute to the twin problems of landfill and litter," Gary Porter from the Local Government Association told the Daily Mail. "Nature has designed out the need for bananas to have extra packaging even for sale at service stations. It's the same yellow wrapper that protects them on the supermarket shelf. Retailers and manufacturers need to cut back on packaging, not create more."
James Harvey, Del Monte UK Managing Director, refuted this by claiming the extra packaging will actually reduce rather than create extra waste. "Del Monte's new CRT packaging is designed to provide significant carbon footprint savings by reducing the frequency of deliveries and the amount of waste going to landfill," he told the Fresh Produce Journal."The packaging is also recyclable. It is a great product and perfect for the convenience market and consumer feedback shows a marked taste benefit too."