Happy Banana Day

18 April 2017: At Countdown we know a thing or two about bananas. They have been Countdown’s number one purchased item across the aisles for years. To celebrate International Banana Day (19 April) we thought we would share some fun facts about Kiwis favourite fruit from our produce experts.

Some fun facts about bananas:

  • Kiwis bought an average of 18kgs of bananas per person last year (October 2015 to October 2016).
  • Bananas are the most popular item on Kiwis grocery list
  • After rice, wheat and maize, bananas are the fourth most consumed food by humans
  • Bananas are actually a berry
  • They are bendy because of negative geotropism which means instead of them growing down they bend to the sun
  • Bananas thrive in hot, tropical conditions hence we can’t grow them in New Zealand very well.  We import 60 per cent of our bananas from Ecuador. We also import from the Philippines and Mexico
  • Cavendish is the most common variety available in New Zealand, named after Englishman William Spencer Cavendish, the sixth Duke of Devonshire.
  • Keep bananas out of the fruit bowl as they ripen faster when surrounded by other fruit
  • The tiny black specks in the middle of the fruit are seeds.
  • Bananas, whilst they have a jacket, bruise easily, so handle with care
  • Refrigerating bananas turns the skins black but the inside is still ok to eat.  Bananas are best eaten at room temperature however if you’ve got bananas to spare, peel them and pop them in the freezer to pull out ready for your next smoothie or banana cake.
  • Separate your bunch of bananas if you don’t want them to ripen too quickly
  • Bananas have twice as much vitamin C as apples and pears
  • They are also full of fibre, potassium, vitamin B6 as well as vitamin C

Steve Sexton, Countdown’s Merchandise Manager for Produce says that nearly every customer buys bananas each week, making them one of any supermarket’s most important products.

“Fifty-one weeks of the year bananas are our absolute top seller, only pipped at the post by strawberries in Christmas week.  Bananas are loved by Kiwis young and old; they’re the first thing you see in almost every supermarket, and the most important part of our produce offer every week.”

Love Food Hate Waste spokesperson Jenny Marshall says "Despite Kiwi's love for bananas, we still throw away 18 million bananas every year because they can ripen too fast. The best way to slow the ripening process is to keep them away from other fruit. If they get too ripe for your liking, freeze them and use them for smoothies or baking."

Love Food Hate Waste has lots of fantastic recipes for overripe bananas check out: https://lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz/8-ways-use-bananas-taking-space-freezer

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