AgroFresh's RipeLock Quality System, an innovative post-harvest quality system for bananas which aims to help keep high-quality bananas at optimal selling colours on display, is looking to help drive sales in the category even higher.
RipeLock looks to provide suppliers, ripeners and retailers with the tools to deliver bananas with greater consumer appeal and a broader window of freshness, reducing shrinkage and markdowns.
The combination of a RipeLock Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) bag with a special 1-MCP formulation from AgroFresh make the RipeLock Quality System “revolutionary and unique within current banana practices”, the group said.
By adding flexibility to the supply chain, RipeLock is opening the door to many non-traditional outlets who do not currently stock fresh fruit, creating a great opportunity to grow sales, according to RipeLock North American sales manager at AgroFresh Kevin Frye.
"Many non-traditional outlets, like coffee shops and convenience stores, are not offering fresh fruit, resulting in a big missed opportunity for sales," Frye explained. "Longer-lasting RipeLock bananas can make servicing these non-traditional outlets simpler and more economical, and can lead to increased sales and consumption."
RipeLock enhances the banana's natural ripening process, Frye continued, maintaining a bright, yellow colour and fresh taste for longer than traditionally ripened bananas. This helps tap into consumer trends like on-the-go-snacking.
"A trend we're watching is how consumers are looking for healthy snacks and innovative packaging options," he noted. "These are also the qualities that make RipeLock bananas the perfect option for both on-the-go snacking and increased at-home consumption."
A recent study by MMR Research Worldwide in the UK revealed 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,” said Frye. “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 doard member, agreed.
“Produce managers that can consistently offer bananas at colour stage 5 generate higher consumption and more repeat customers. Until now, that was not possible due to the risk of high shrink," he explained.
The MMR Research Worldwide study also demonstrated the ability of RipeLock to reduce waste by maintaining fruit longer at the optimal colour and flavour — 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.