Asda is planning a direct sourcing trial with bananas, buying direct from the grower without using an importer.

The fruit will still be ripened in the UK by Mack Multiples, but, starting from July, Asda has placed the order for 8,000 to 10,000 boxes per week direct with Costa Rican banana supplier Caribana.

"Normally we would be responsible for the quality of the fruit and supplier accreditation," said Judy Whittaker, communications manager for the Fresca Group, parent company to Mack Multiples. "But, by dealing direct with the growers in this trial, Asda is taking on the risk through its procurement subsidiary International Produce. This is a departure for the industry and it will be interesting to see how it goes."

Tim Kershaw of supply chain consultancy Libra Europe said Asda stood to save around 3p/kg - equivalent to 5% - on their biggest selling commodity. Asda could use the trial as leverage to bargain down suppliers' margins, he added.