by AgroFresh Solutions, Inc.
PHILADELPHIA — An innovation from AgroFresh is bringing new life to bananas — with RipeLock – a technology proven to help consistently keep high-quality bananas at the optimal color on display at retail. While it’s important for retailers to stay up on consumer demands for new fruit varieties and packaging options, the quality of flagship items, such as bananas, remain a key indicator for overall consumer perception of the produce department.
Retailers recognize that a limiting factor in sales and consumption is that bananas ripen too quickly. With the new RipeLock™ Quality System from AgroFresh, suppliers, ripeners and retailers now have the tools to deliver bananas with greater consumer appeal and a broader window of freshness. At the same time, shrink and markdowns can be reduced, facilitating sales and inventory management.
“A trend we’re watching is how consumers are looking for healthy snacks and innovative packaging options,” said Kevin Frye, RipeLock North American sales manager for AgroFresh. “These are also the qualities that make RipeLock bananas the perfect option for both on-the-go snacking and increased at-home consumption.”
“RipeLock enhances the banana’s natural ripening process to maintain their bright, yellow color, fresh taste, creamy texture and appealing look significantly longer than traditionally ripened bananas,” Frye said.
RipeLock helps increase the demand for quality produce.
A recent study by MMR Research Worldwide in United Kingdom reveals how RipeLock positively affects banana taste and appearance. In the study, seven out of ten consumers preferred the quality of RipeLock bananas.
“When retailers can stock more appealing, longer-lasting bananas, it not only translates into more banana sales, it’s been proven to drive overall produce sales,” Frye said. “This is because consumers feel confident in the quality and freshness of the other fruit in the store.”
Craig Stephen, a leader in the banana industry for more than 20 years and past Produce Marketing Association Board member, agrees.
“Produce managers that can consistently offer bananas at color stage 5 generate higher consumption and more repeat customers. Until now, that was not possible due to the risk of high shrink.”
RipeLock helps reduce food waste.
The MMR Research Worldwide study also demonstrates the ability of RipeLock to reduce waste by maintaining fruit longer at the optimal color and flavor — both in the store and in the home.
“In talking with banana consumers all over the world, they’ve expressed for years that the biggest unmet need is longer shelf-life, that bananas ripen too quickly, leading to under consumption,” Stephen said.
RipeLock adds flexibility to the supply chain
The longer shelf-life also gives retailers the ability to have consistent, high-quality fruit on display longer with less frequent restocking and without extra deliveries. And in most back-room environments, RipeLock reduces the need to ‘air stack’ boxes.
“Many non-traditional outlets, like coffee shops and convenience stores, are not offering fresh fruit, resulting in a big missed opportunity for sales. Longer-lasting RipeLock bananas can make servicing these non-traditional outlets simpler and more economical, and can lead to increased sales and consumption,” Frye said.
A recent independent study with consumers in the United Kingdom reveals how RipeLock positively affects banana taste and appearance — both key factors in buying decisions.