An influential independent retailer is taking a stand against the supermarket banana price wars with a campaign urging shoppers to think twice before buying cheap bananas.

Andrew Thornton, the owner of two Budgens stores in north London, will launch his Play Fair Trade Fair campaign today and has pledged to donate all profits from banana sales in his stores during November to a plantation workers' organisation in Costa Rica.

Asda sparked a price war last month by slashing the price of bananas to 38p/kg from 95p/kg at the start of the year. The multiples have all followed suit, with prices averaging at about 46p/kg among the big four and Waitrose, according to data from The Grocer 33.

Thornton, who currently sells bananas at £1.12/kg with monthly sales of £8,000, said he was launching the campaign before the price war went too far and plantations were put out of business. Since 1992, 20,000 of 24,000 Windwards farmers had gone out of business, he said. "We're going to explain to customers what is going on and why we are not going to play in this game. Most consumers are not aware why bananas have become so cheap and many would be horrified if they were."

Thornton added that he would be urging other independents to join his campaign. He has developed PoS and campaign stickers that can be downloaded from his website "The more retailers who say yes to saying no, the more consumers we can reach and the more we can raise for Costa Rican plantation workers," he said.

Fairtrade holds own in banana price war (17/10/09)
Asda’s banana war costs rivals millions (3/10/09)