Organics Unlimited's Mayra Velazquez de León Discusses Current Banana Outlook
- by Kayla Webb
SAN DIEGO, CA - Familiar with Shakira’s best song ever? No, not Hips Don’t Lie—I said best, not most popular. I’m talking about Whenever, Wherever, a song that mirrors any I could create about my love for bananas, particularly Organics Unlimited’s bananas hailing from Mexico and Ecuador. Can’t you see? I’m at your peel. Whenever, wherever, we’re meant to be together!
In my humble opinion, we don’t talk about bananas enough, and when I reached out to Mayra Velazquez de León, President and CEO, to find out more about Organics Unlimited’s current season and any other banana-shaped info I could glean, she was more than happy to humor me.
“Currently, our banana supply and quality are doing well. Recently, we expanded the acreage of our farms in Colima, Mexico, so that we could keep up with growing demand. As a result, we are anticipating an increase in volume over last year,” Mayra told me. “And, thankfully the weather has been cooperating so that we can continue to produce high-quality organic bananas.”
Organic Unlimited’s organic Cavendish bananas are grown primarily in Colima, until the winter months push harvest into warm and sunny Ecuador. Mayra reports that while the grower offers bananas year-round, April is when supplies peak thanks to warm weather boosting production in Mexico.
Again, in my humble opinion, bananas are kind of the unspoken and consistent favorite in the produce aisle, with demand failing to falter. As we spoke, Mayra confirmed this, revealing that bananas have long been one of the most popular items in the produce department because of their convenience and nutritional value. But, while conventional varieties continue to reign supreme, they might be meeting their match in the form of organic bananas.
“Lately, organic bananas have quickly been gaining in popularity. In fact, one of the biggest challenges organic banana growers face is keeping up with demand,” Mayra explained. “Organically grown bananas contributed to one percent of organic produce sales last year, and their popularity is on the rise, growing at double digits versus other organic produce items as more consumers become educated on the health benefits of consuming organic produce. Demand is also amplified because we appeal to consumers who are environmentally conscious.”
Mayra pointed to Organic Unlimited’s minimal, carbon-footprint reducing packaging as an easy way to satisfy environmentally-conscious consumers. Another way the company showcases its love for the environment is through its social responsibility program, GROW, which gives assistance in the form of education, scholarships, student housing assistance, clean water programs, vision, dental and health clinics, and more to communities in banana growing regions.
“We are continuously working on expanding GROW. Last year, we were able to expand our health clinic offerings as well as our street team of health educators. All this is possible through consumers and retailers who support our GROW program!” Mayra concluded, reminding me for the zillionth time (just this week!) why the produce industry seriously kicks butt.
Whenever, wherever, AndNowUKnow will continue bringing you and the freshest produce news together.