Group of Latin American banana industry associations say retailer has abandoned its commitments on sustainable and ethical supply

Bananas Kaufland supermarket Germany

Image: Kaufland

Banana suppliers from six Latin American countries have accused Kaufland, one of Germany’s largest retail chains, of failing to meet its commitments on fair pricing.

The accusation was made in a joint statement issued by producers and exporters from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Peru and the Dominican Republic.

Kaufland currently advertises a kilo of bananas from Ecuador or Colombia for €0.88. In their statement, the suppliers suggested that such a low price amounted to a dereliction of duty on the part of supermarkets and discount stores.

“Supermarkets and discount stores must contribute to properly inform end consumers about the efforts that banana producers undertake to bring them a sustainable fruit that respects the certification standards and strict regulations of the destination market, by advertising bananas at a fair price,” the letter stated. Kaufland is one of several supermarket operators in Germany that are part of GIZ’s sustainable supply chains project, which seeks to promote environmentally friendly and ethical practices in the grocery business.

Kaufland online produce prices

“However, in this case, Kaufland contradicts these intentions by demonstrating the lack of a real commitment, not considering mechanisms to guarantee the payment of a fair price, promoting predatory pricing practices and failing to contribute to properly inform end consumers,” the group’s statement continued. It added: “Within the framework of the Fourth Global Conference of the World Banana Forum, representatives of banana producers and exporters required urgent actions and a concrete commitment from supermarkets to achieve the sustainability of the industry.

“However, unfortunately, we observe once again how a supermarket participates in projects and programs that divert its objectives from the real problem – the lack of shared responsibility – and in its practices adopts mechanisms that harm the sustainability of Latin American banana production.” According to the suppliers, other retailers sell Latin American bananas for €1.19 per kilo, a price they say also undermines industry efforts toward sustainability.

“The retail price of bananas has remained static for decades, making it the cheapest fruit on supermarket shelves,” they noted. “These retailers aggressively compete with promotions for the cheapest fruit disregarding sustainable production efforts.”