Sometimes a banana is just a banana

Yeah, that’s just what they’d like you to believe:

Dole and other banana growers have turned the creation of a banana into a science, in part to manipulate perceptions of freshness. In fact, they’ve issued a banana guide to greengrocers, illustrating the various color stages a banana can attain during its life cycle. Each color represents the sales potential for the banana in question. For example, sales records show that bananas with Pantone color 13-0858 (otherwise known as Vibrant Yellow) are less likely to sell than bananas with Pantone color 12-0752 (also called Buttercup), which is one grade warmer, visually, and seems to imply a riper, fresher fruit. Companies like Dole have analyzed the sales effects of all varieties of color and, as a result, plant their crops under conditions most ideal to creating the right “color.”

Not that anyone is going to buy Banana Crepe (Pantone color 13-0815).

Perhaps I just don’t understand the system, because I buy bananas on the basis of greenness: I buy once a week, on Saturday, and if I have one left by Friday, I’d just as soon it didn’t vaguely resemble a mahogany machete handle. (They are stored in a bowl on the breakfast bar.) To this end, I buy organics when they’re offered; in my experience, they hold up better. And if everything in the store is yellow, regardless of specific Pantone shade, I end up buying fewer. Simple as that.

(Via American Digest. Due to differences in hardware, colors specified may not appear exactly as intended or as on official Pantone samples.)


  1. Luther »

    18 September 2011 · 11:10 pm

    As someone who has imbibed, at minimum, one banana a day for the last forty years, I’ll soon enough discern there nefariousness. F**k with my banana then you f**k with me.

    Yes, it is that personal. Though, assuredly, I’m a loner here.

  2. Charles Pergiel »

    19 September 2011 · 12:31 am

    What? Plan ahead? A whole week? What are you? Some kind of communist?

  3. Mel »

    19 September 2011 · 1:28 am

    Funny. I jumped right in and read the article without reading the title.

    At the end, I thought to myself “Sometimes a banana is just a banana”.

    Then I read the title and felt safe in the knowledge that it is decidedly so … sometimes.

  4. Bill K »

    19 September 2011 · 2:35 pm

    How Green Was My Banana

    The only way a bunch of bananas can last an entire week is to have a team of people with different preferences. We buy them when they’re solid green. My wife’s turn comes first, and lasts as long as I can HEAR it when she peels one. For me, a banana must be dentable but not bendable.

  5. CGHill »

    19 September 2011 · 3:58 pm

    Seems reasonable enough.

    I generally buy five or six to the bunch, but four if they’ve gone all yellow on me. And no, I do not separate bunches in order to get the precise number I want.

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