Bananas Market - Overview

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Bananas Market - Overview

Aside from Chiquita, Dole Food, Del Monte Fresh, and Fyffes are leaders in the bananas market. While some brands focus on the health benefits of bananas, others highlight their sustainability practices as part of their messaging. In addition, 2020 food trends involving bananas include banana flour and banana bread, with this last one being overwhelmingly popular. Lastly, Amazon and Kellogg's are companies that have successfully implemented strategies to overcome stagnation at different times and in different markets.

Top Banana Brands

  • Chiquita Brands International, Dole Food, Del Monte Fresh Produce, Fyffes, and the Coliman Group have been reported as top players in the banana market.
  • It has been estimated that Chiquita, Dole, Del Monte, and Fyffes account for 40% of the market share worldwide, with an even stronger presence in North America.
  • Dole claims to have the largest market share when it comes to organic bananas in the United States.
  • Furthermore, Dole Food Company had a 2019 revenue estimated at $4.4 billion. Of this total, approximately $1.9 billion corresponded to the bananas category.
  • Meanwhile, Fyffes has been reported as the largest distributor in Europe overall, including the organic bananas market.
  • Del Monte positions itself as the third-largest banana company in the United States, where 53% of its sales took place. Meanwhile, the European market accounted for 18% of Del Monte banana sales in 2019.
  • The amount in worldwide net sales of Del Monte bananas in 2019 was $1.6 billion.
  • According to Fortune, Chiquita Brand International had a revenue estimated at $3 billion, and it has been mentioned as the leading banana company worldwide.

Fresh Del Monte

  • As part of their messaging on their website, Del Monte mentions the versatility of bananas, presenting them as a quick snack, or a fruit that can be eaten in a milkshake, with cereal, or as part of different desserts.
  • On its European website, Del Monte highlights the nutritional value of bananas and their competitive price point compared to other fresh produce.
  • In addition, it is shown that some European countries in which Del Monte distributes bananas include German, Italy, and the Netherlands.
  • As a way to differentiate itself from other companies, Del Monte strongly highlights how its products are nutritious and promote a healthy lifestyle. In addition, the company positions itself as a provider of premium products.
  • Del Monte has a Facebook page, Del Monte Fresh, with 455,511 followers, which seems to be updated regularly. Products and recipes are featured on this site.
  • The company also has an Instagram profile with 80,746 followers, with the username @delmontefresh. The content is very similar to that posted on their Facebook page, with regular updates.
  • Similarly, the company has a Twitter profile, with 33,600 followers where fruit snacks and recipes are posted as well as posts from other users in which products sold by Del Monte are featured.
  • Del Monte Fresh also has a YouTube channel with 5,740 subscribers where content seems to be uploaded monthly.
  • Lastly, Del Monte Fresh has a LinkedIn profile with 48,507 followers, which seems to be updated twice a month with product highlights and food tips.
  • In September 2019, the company launched its "Better in Bananavision" campaign. The company leveraged social media by encouraging their followers to post and submit pictures using promotional hashtags.
  • Engaging with the campaign would allow users to participate for prizes such as a cooking class with Sur La Table, banana costumes for Halloween, and more. The campaign started on September 16 and ended on October 31.
  • The overall message of the campaign was one of positivity and fun. Del Monte also used the campaign to highlight the premium quality of its products, a message that is seen across its media channels.

Fyffes Limited

  • Fyffes includes the phrases "Fyffes passion for fruit" and "Our passion for fruit" as part of their website messaging.
  • The company presents its website visitors with the entire process of getting bananas from the plantations to the consumer. Similarly, it provides additional information about the varieties offered.
  • Furthermore, Fyffes presents nutrition and random facts about bananas. However, the messaging is mainly focused on sustainability and the importance of knowing where bananas come from.
  • The company differentiates itself from other brands by highlighting its fair trade and sustainability practices when it comes to all of their produce, including bananas.
  • Fyffes has different Facebook pages; however, their Fyffes Ireland and United Kingdom pages seem to be the largest ones.
  • Fyffes Ireland has 36,934 followers and Fyffes UK has 56,093 followers. Posts are updated daily with recipes and tips for healthy living as part of the content for Fyffes Ireland, while the UK page has recipes and banana jokes and games.
  • The Fyffes Ireland Instagram profile, @fyffes_ireland has similar content to the Facebook page of this country but only 2,042 followers.
  • The company also has a Twitter profile, in which posts about the company, its workers, and their sustainability efforts stand out. This profile has 4,772 followers.
  • Fyffes has a YouTube channel with 496 subscribers in which company highlights are shown. In addition, there is an entire section dedicated to exercises, promoting a healthy lifestyle.
  • Lastly, the LinkedIn profile of the company has 14,901 followers and posts are mainly dedicated to the sustainability efforts of Fyffes as well as highlighting company activities worldwide.
  • In 2019, Fyffes launched "The Power of the Blue Label" campaign. This campaign was released on radio, out-of-home, and digital channels, remarking on the fact that not all bananas earn the blue label of the company.
  • Furthermore, the company used the campaign to highlight the fact that its blue label stands for quality and freshness.

Dole Food Company

  • The website of the company presents bananas as a versatile product that can be used for baking, cooking, and to prepare delicious snacks.
  • Their nutritional value is highlighted, and further information about the health benefits of eating bananas as well as details about their composition is provided.
  • In addition, something Dole does that the other companies do not is offering information about how to choose bananas, as well as how to store them properly, and even useful tips to prevent them from browning when used in certain recipes.
  • This additional information as well as the strong focus on health benefits are part of the key differentiating messaging used by Dole.
  • Dole has a Facebook page with 1,718,337 followers in which posts about recipes and social media contests are regularly posted.
  • The company has different Instagram profiles, with one of the most relevant ones being @dolepics, in which photos of bananas and other fresh produce are posted. Promotion of social media contests is also made through this platform.
  • Similarly, the company has different LinkedIn profiles, with the most relevant in the bananas market being Dole Fresh Fruit International. This profile has 20,975 followers but no posts have been uploaded.
  • The Dole Food Company profile has 47,629 followers and posts focus on their products as well as company activities to guarantee the best quality.
  • Dole has a YouTube channel called DoleTube with 39,400 subscribers, in which a great number of recipes have been posted. While the majority of videos were posted three years ago, their most recent post was only one month ago.
  • Dole has partnered with Disney to launch different ad campaigns in 2019 and 2020. One of the most recent ones was in the context of the Disney film, Frozen 2.
  • As part of the campaign, the company launched the DOLE® Banana Sticker Peel and Play Game.
  • Furthermore, both bananas and pineapples distributed by Dole in supermarkets in the United States and Canada had images of Frozen 2 characters.

Demographics of Consumers

Gender

  • In 2017, the director of corporate communications at Dole stated that bananas were the most commonly produce item purchased by males.
  • That said, a 2020 report found that while 54% of American males purchase bananas, 63% of females do the same.

Income

  • According to a United States 2020 report, the likelihood of buying bananas is affected by income. 65% of people earning over $100,000 were likely to buy bananas.
  • This number decreased with income, with 59% of those earning between $50,000 and $59,000 being likely to buy bananas.
  • Only 57% of those earning between $25,000 and $49,000 were likely to make this purchase while a slight increase was seen among those earning less than $25,000. 58% of people in this last group were likely to buy bananas.

Ethnicity

  • The Black /African American group was less likely to purchase bananas, with only 35% doing so. They were followed by the Asian group, with 51% being likely to make this purchase.
  • Hispanics and Caucasians were the groups most likely to buy bananas with 56% and 64% respectively.

Regions

  • When looking at regions in the United States, 63% of people in the Midwest were likely to buy bananas, followed by 61% of people in the West.
  • Meanwhile, 58% of people in the Northeast were likely to make this purchase, followed by only 56% of people in the South.

Marital Status

  • Regarding ripeness reference, it was found that all groups preferred their bananas to be mostly yellow with some green.
  • That said, those in the single group were more likely to prefer bananas solid yellow in comparison with other groups, with 35% of them giving this answer.
  • Similarly, 6% of single people preferred their bananas completely green, which surpassed the percentages of people from other marital groups that preferred this level of ripeness.

Banana Food Trends

Banana Flour

  • The search for healthier -and preferably plant-based-alternatives has led to the emergence of banana flour as a new trend.
  • This flour is made from green bananas, which has been pointed out as very nutritious, with the bonus of being gluten-free.
  • In addition, this flour reportedly has high starch levels but a moderate carbohydrate profile, making it filling but not fattening.
  • Industry experts predicted this trend in 2019 "flours such as almond, coconut and cassava are on the rise, and there may even be new introductions, such as cauliflower, green banana and cashew flour." This was also highlighted on the market forecast published by Whole Foods.
  • On Instagram, there were 6,601 posts tagged with the #bananaflour. In addition, recipes using banana flours have started to emerge across different websites, including sites such as Food Network and Yummly.
  • German and Italian reports have also presented this as a 2020 trend.

Banana Sushi

  • An industry report cited health consciousness as one of the main drivers of banana sales growth worldwide.
  • One example of this is the banana sushi trend, which has made a reappearance after being popular in 2016.
  • The trend seems to have reached the European market in 2020, standing out for how practical it is and the fact that it can be a quick and delicious snack.
  • There were 4,829 posts tagged on Instagram with the #bananasushi.
  • Although websites such as Delish published early recipes in 2017, 2020 has seen a resurgence of recipes on websites dedicated to dishes apt for children, and it is heavily promoted as a vegan snack.

Banana Bread

  • The biggest banana trend of 2020 is banana bread, which is also considered one of the most popular food trends related to the COVID-19 quarantine.
  • This food trend involves bananas in a maturity stage that is not usually the most popular one, which is very ripe bananas.
  • However, considering that most people bought in bulk during the lockdown, this allows minimizing food waste if some bananas become overripe.
  • Google Trends even highlighted "banana bread recipe" as one of the most popular search terms since the quarantine started for most countries, in March 2020.
  • This dish is also considered comfort food by many, which might be part of the reason why it has become so popular.
  • Numerous food websites have published their own recipes, including Food.com and Bon Appetit.
  • The #bananabread has been used to tag 1,494,968 posts on Instagram.

Stagnant Prices Guidelines or Case Studies

Amazon Prime

  • While Amazon is not a stagnant company, one of its most popular services, Amazon Prime had the same annual subscription price of $99 for four years.
  • When the company first announced it would increase prices by 20% to reach $119 a year, numerous users claimed they would not renew their subscription.
  • One of the practices the company put in place to increase the success of this strategy was announcing the change through one of the leaders of the company instead of sending an email through customer service.
  • The company was also clear in remarking on the fact that the service had not suffered any increases for four years.
  • One of the most important strategies used by the company was highlighting why this increase was valuable, positioning it as a great benefit for the customer instead of a cost-based decision only.
  • A McKinsey report focused on strategies for reviving the grocery industry also remarks on the importance of making a strong value proposition. This value can come from a value for money proposition, but other benefits such as convenience or providing inspiration to customers can be equally useful.
  • After this change in pricing took place, the number of Amazon Prime subscribers in the United States grew from 95 million in 2018 to 112 million in 2019.
  • In 2020, the company surpassed 150 million subscribers worldwide.

Good — Better — Best

  • This approach to pricing is based on creating different price tiers for the products offered by a company or industry.
  • This strategy proposes creating a high-end version of an existing product, which can attract people used to spending more or clients who see the value in it. In the bananas industry, a "Best" product could be organic bananas or bananas from specialty varieties.
  • Another part of this approach is providing a more accessible product, which would be the "good" tier. This allows customers who were unable to access the existing product to have a more affordable option.
  • In addition, a benefit of this strategy is that, when instituting a Best option, the Better option suddenly appears more affordable, even if the price has not changed. This can lead to an increase in sales of the Better option.
  • Market and consumer research is essential for the correct implementation of this practice. This will also allow for further customer personalization, which McKinsey highlights as an important practice as well.
  • An example of a company that did this was Allstate, a company that challenged the belief that customers would always go for the cheapest possible vehicle insurance option.
  • The company started to offer Value, Standard, Gold, and Platinum plans, going from lower-priced to highest-priced and increasing benefits as the price of the plan grew.
  • This program, called YourChoice, sold 3.9 million policies in three years and continues to be highly successful to this day.

Kellogg's

  • The arrival of Kellogg's in India might be an older example, but it is still relevant for stagnant companies and industries.
  • Kellogg's had become stagnant in the United States and United Kingdom markets, which led it to expand to other countries. India was one of them.
  • However, customer research proved to be insufficient as the approach taken by the company of presenting their cereal as a nutritional and healthy option failed.
  • The company performed further local research, which allowed it to identify the high prices as another pain point. The brand launched smaller packages, which were more affordable, and presented their cereal as a fun alternative for breakfast.
  • Kellogg's played an instrumental role in the growth of the cereal market in India, and it is still the market leader. After only five years, it held 66% of the market share in the country.
  • In addition, it has been reported that the company will be opening a research and development center in this country soon, continuing its research of the market and providing tailor-made products.

Research Strategy

Dole Food is a private company and no recent annual reports were available to provide information about their revenue from the bananas sector. However, a report from 2018 states that 44% of the revenue earned by the company came from its banana sales. Information about the revenue of the company was available for 2019. Therefore, we assumed the 44% percentage continued to hold true in 2019 and we used this information to calculate the bananas revenue for Dole Food Company.
While Germany and Italy have been identified as main importers of bananas in Europe, demographic data about consumers in these nations was not available, something that was also seen when searching for consumer demographics for the Netherlands and Greece. We searched through industry reports, and statistics provided by international organizations, without finding any favorable results. In addition, we searched through annual reports from some leading companies, without being able to find the corresponding information. Therefore, only demographic information about the United States has been provided.
In order to identify the case studies and the provided guideline for stagnant industries, we searched through industry reports as well as articles published by business consultancy experts, selecting those that better related to the banana industry and that were published by reputable companies.
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