BanaBay has joined forces with Luton-based fruit importer and ripener SH Pratt.
SH Pratt, which recently made redundant 87 members of staff after losing a key deal with Morrisons, will be Birmingham-based BanaBay’s ripening partner for all UK-based activities.
BanaBay has started working to five containers and half a million bananas per week with SH Pratt, but there are plans to double these figures before the end of 2014.
Mark O’Sullivan, BanaBay MD, said: “This is a fantastic move for BanaBay and we are already experiencing the benefits of this partnership, which began last month.
“Our plan is to develop our UK activities in 2014, so we expect we will keep SH Pratt busier with BanaBay.
“It is a critical business decision in the plan of our UK strategic model, and we are already extremely satisfied that this is a move that will benefit the long-term success of the company.”
BanaBay has invested recently in a further 1,000-acre plantation in Ecuador to keep up with demand. It is currently shipping over 2 million bananas a week all over the world, with trials starting soon in Italy and Bulgaria.
O’Sullivan said: “Our vision is to have the BanaBay brand in 25 countries worldwide by the end of 2014. To carry through our ongoing strategic aims, supply is crucial which is why we have recently purchased an additional 1,000 acres.
“With every acquisition we can then ensure that the same standards and practices are adopted to provide super premium bananas to our global supply chain.”
To further confirm its phenomenal rate of growth, BanaBay has also just added pineapples and plantains to its tropical fruit category.
The plantains will come from Ecuador and Panama to begin with, and the pineapples from Ecuador. “We are now reviewing our strategy for these product categories and the US is one country for which these have been specifically selected,” O’Sullivan told FPJ.
To cope with the expansion, and to push the company’s name and product further and wider, Tom Burke has been appointed president of BanaBay’s North America operations, based in Atlanta.
O’Sullivan said: “One of our main strategic targets in 2014 is to develop the BanaBay business in the USA, and we are already seeing some strong leads with companies that are interested.
“As we have recently acquired organic status, this gives us a portfolio that really demonstrates our values which we feel matches those of US consumers.”
He added: “We are also targeting Rainforest Alliance, Equal Exchange, HACCP and ISO accreditations in 2014 to keep building a stronger ethical policy around the name of BanaBay.”