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Improved banana ripening results in 25-33% more sales at retail: find out how

The current banana ripening process in North America and Europe implies the use of ripening rooms. Bananas are harvested and transported green.

Palletized banana boxes are mostly ripened in pressurized ripening rooms, where temperature is controlled and ethylene applied to trigger ripening. This process, called "the ripening cycle", takes 4-7 days, with a ripening cycle of 5 days being the most common cycle.

Marketing studies show that delivering fruit at color 5 (yellow wit green tips) at retail shelf increases sales by 33 % vs. green fruit. Delivering fruit at color 4 (more yellow than green) increases sales by 25%.

Unfortunately, some wholesalers deliver bananas which are too green at retail, expecting to have more shelf life and less shrink. The result is the opposite, with fruit stayimng too long in the shelf. Finally these bananas turn dark before they are ripe, and have to be is discarded unsold.

By balancing the right elements of the ripening cycle, fruit can be delivered at color 4 or 5 and still have good shelf life at retail.

Key factors to control are:
- fruit temperature in the ripening room
- ethylene application and
- relative humidity

The combination of these will determine whether the fruit will remain at retail at a nice color 5 -6 for a few days, enough to increase sales and stock rotation. The alternative is to display green fruit that will not ripen properly and will be sold at a discount or discarded

Another key issue is homogeneous color . different color stages inside the box or among boxes will results in poor display appearance and lost sales.

Color homogeneity should be addressed at the ripening room and the key factors are:

- ethylene concentration
- air volume
- proper airflow through the boxes

Integrating these two issues, color stage at shelf life and color homogeneity, will result in increased sales, faster rotation and higher profits.

Copyright 2011 Dr. Manuel Madrid

Fruitprofits is a consulting company that helps fresh produce companies improve their value chain processes, marketing and technology, increasing sales, and obtaining better quality at arrival.

Fruitprofits is active in EU, North Africa and Latin America



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