Asda has hiked the price of a kilo of bananas by 4p to 76p, marking its second price increase on the SKU in eight months amid rising import costs.

The move makes Asda’s loose bananas the most expensive across the mults, closely followed by Waitrose, which increased its prices from 72p to 75p in March [Brand View 1 February to 1 August 2017].

However, a spokesman for Asda insisted the retailer “always works hard to keep prices as low as possible for customers” despite the rise.

It is the latest in a series of banana price rises over the past eight months, following supply issues in key growing regions as well as the depreciation of sterling.

Loose bananas were available for 68p per kilo across the mults for more than two years until Asda, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Aldi increased prices to 72p in November. Waitrose and Tesco followed suit in December, with Tesco then hiking the price of a five-pack by 10p to 90p in July, citing the rising cost of importing the fruit.

Alongside the post-Brexit currency crash, adverse weather in South and Central America resulted in an increase in import prices to the UK earlier this year, up 17.7% to an average of £810/tonne in March [Mintec 52 w/e 21 March 2017].

But prices have begun to ease, according to Mintec, as supplies have improved from countries such as Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia and Guatemala. The cost of wholesale bananas was £663/tonne at the end of July, down 14.7% month on month despite remaining almost 1% higher year on year.

Alistair Smith, international co-ordinator at Banana Link, said Asda’s price increase was a “move in the right direction” for the industry, but suggested it could go further. “Seventy-six pence per kilo is still an unsustainably low price if all players are to make a reasonable margin.”