Since when were big bananas not awesome?

Since when were big bananas not awesome?

May 21, 2024Jonathan Englert

Do you agree with Woolworths’ boss, Brad Banducci, when he says that “no one wants a banana that is too big?”

He did indeed say that, according to a recent story published by the ABC. The comment came as part of a state select committee that has been investigating grocery prices. It’s a hot-button topic right now (there’s another investigation that’s being led by the ACCC), and food waste is being highlighted as a big part of the problem.

We know from the report that we conducted last year that more than half of farmers screen out and self-reject good produce because they don’t think it will be accepted by the commercial buyers.

In speaking to the state select committee, Banducci claimed it was not the supermarkets at fault on this, saying that Woolworths’ reject rate is just one to 1.5 per cent. “We reject very little when it comes into our business,” the ABC reported. “That doesn't mean that it's not rejected before it gets to our business if you know what I mean, I think there's an opportunity there."

Indeed there is an opportunity there. For one thing, the opportunity to stop throwing out good bananas if they’re a touch oversize!

There is produce that is unfit for consumption. Fruit and vegetables that have become affected by mould, for example, can’t really be sold or used. But we know from our report that just 9% of all discarded produce is a result of pest infestation. 26% has to do with ripeness. Meanwhile, 37% is a result of size – those pesky long bananas – and 68% is due to appearance.

So contrary to what Banducci is claiming, very little of the produce that gets thrown away has anything to do with food safety.

More than anything else, however, the proof that the claim that “no one wants a banana that is too big” is nonsense is the success of Good & Fugly. We’ve been able to grow the number of locations we service rapidly over the last year, and the success of our Birchal crowdfunding campaign underscores the demand that consumers have for the kind of meaningful solutions to the problem with food waste that we offer.

In short, keep your eyes out! You might just find a “too big” banana in your own Good & Fugly box in the near future, since the big supermarkets don’t seem to want them!

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