Banana Rant

Has anyone else noticed that organic bananas are often either wrapped in plastic, or have a big strip of plastic tape around them? Meanwhile the non-organic bananas are out loose.

Being a bit of the worst-case-scenario type, I assumed that this was for one of two reasons. Either they didn't want them getting mixed in with the non-organic bananas, which are cheaper, or they wanted to force people to buy an entire bunch instead of just one or two at a time.

A quick google search gave me a different explanation, which is that organic banana are wrapped in plastic to help them ripen faster. According to what I read, both varieties of the fruit are normally shipped green. At some point, non-organic bananas are sprayed with ethylene gas to kick-start the ripening process. This is the same gas that is naturally given off by bananas, so they put them in a bag to trap the gas and help them to ripen.

As for the tape, the little information that I found (here) explains that it is to make them easier to scan for retailers, and so that they stand out compared to the conventional bananas. That way they won't be incorrectly scanned as the lower-priced fruit. It also says it is used to encourage consumers to buy "hands" of bananas instead of individual ones (meaning fewer). So it looks like when it comes to the tape, my original assumptions were pretty close.

Both packaging methods go to show that they are missing a portion of their target market though, because although I'm not too worried about paying extra for the organic variety, I just can't bring myself to buy fruit that has been intentionally packaged in a wasteful manner.

That being said, I know from my days working in the produce department at Safeway that even the conventional bananas come shipped in a big box with a big plastic bag inside. But behind-the-scenes packaging is a whole other can of worms that I'm not quite ready to address just yet.

Sorry Co-op, I guess I won't be buying your bananas...


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