UK retailers have defended their record on banana pricing in the wake of looming strikes by Colombian workers over pay.
Last week, The Grocer revealed that 18,000 Colombian workers had voted in favour of strike action, prompting fears of UK banana shortages given that Colombia accounts for 25% of bananas imported directly into the UK.
It led to calls by NGOs for UK supermarkets to increase the retail price of bananas and to pay more to suppliers to ensure more money is passed back to workers.
“Bananas are often promoted in stores as they are so popular with customers, but the retailer will invest in those promotions themselves”
British Retail Consortium
Defending its members, the British Retail Consortium claimed it was too simplistic to compare the selling price of bananas in UK stores and the price suppliers received.
“Bananas are often promoted in stores as they are so popular with customers, but the retailer will invest in those promotions themselves and make sure suppliers get a sustainable price,” it said in a statement issued to The Grocer.
UK retailers took their ethical responsibilities very seriously – for example, Fairtrade bananas now accounted for a significant proportion of bananas sold in supermarkets – and had achieved a great deal in advancing labour rights within their supply chains, the BRC added.
The BRC downplayed fears over shortages caused by any strike action. “Retailers and their suppliers are monitoring this issue closely to ensure there is no disruption to sales of a very popular fruit,” it said.