The banana industry faces climatic and market challenges but remains on a level footing, according to Rafał Bury of Polish importer, wholesaler and distributor Targban

As we move into 2024, how do you see the banana market performing?

Rafal Bury Targban

Rafal Bury

Rafał Bury: Overall, we are observing a slight slowdown in the market. I’m not talking about any noticeable crisis, but more of a trend. The European market is not starved for goods. Despite the low fruit production in Ecuador, we do not see any reaction in the European market. Prices are historically high, of course, but we expected them to be even higher, or even a shortage of goods in Europe. Especially in the second half of the year, when the lower supply became even more evident.

What should be counted as positive, however, is the market stability. Prices have remained at similar levels throughout the year, and apart from the summer months, we have not observed major fluctuations in 2023.

Have there been any changes to banana volumes sold, given the global economic challenges and the post-Covid environment?

RB: The market is a bit more sluggish, but I don’t see a direct impact of Covid here. The pandemic crisis was a trigger for the European Union and many governments to pump additional funds into the economies, which in turn deepened the inflation crisis, but for us, Covid is a thing of the past. Even the maritime transport market has already returned to relative balance.

I think the slowdown is related to the overall economic situation, inflation, and, until recently, fears of a crisis that the war in Ukraine could trigger. All this probably results in greater caution among consumers.

What drives banana sales? Have consumer purchasing motivations changed?

RB: For the western consumer, the banana is obviously a staple product. In Europe or the US, there is probably no market where bananas are not in the top five products in the basket.

I think it’s hard to find factors that could significantly affect the consumption of these fruits. Consumption, apart from some seasonality, is relatively stable year to year.

Currently, consumer moods seem to be a bit weaker. In Poland, until recently, inflation was rampant, people shop more cautiously and more thoughtfully. However, we do not notice significant changes in consumer habits.

For the full interview, see the Fresh Focus Banana special inside the Fruit Logistica – Part 1 edition of Eurofruit Magazine