A shortage of banana supplies across the European Union has pushed the average price of loose bananas up by more than 10p per kg this week.
Figures from The Grocer 33 found the price of loose bananas per kg had jumped from 74p to an average of 85p.
Donal Pierce, business development director at Windwards Bananas, said the shortage had been created by poor weather. Climates had been cooler with a lot less sunlight than usual. Supplies are very tight across the EU, with prices slowly creeping up across Europe, he added.
Despite the increase, prices remain well below levels seen in June 1998 when prices were as much as 98p per kg.
In 2002 US retailer Wal-Mart triggered a so-called ‘banana retail war’ when it struck a deal with Del Monte to supply cheap bananas to Asda. In response, supermarkets slashed their prices by as much as 20p per kg, and prices have remained static at 74p ever since.
Asda confirmed prices had increased. A spokesman said: “It’s affecting the whole of the industry at the moment.”
Quality issues, he added, could also be to blame.
Tesco said the shortage was due to an EU quota that limited volumes imported into Europe. The shortfall, it noted, could be the result of competition being underestimated.
Paul Barrett, UK brand manager at Fyffes Bananas, said supermarkets had been under pressure from suppliers for some time to increase banana prices.
>>p18 The Grocer 33
Beth Brooks