FRESH PRODUCE TRENDS: Yes, Roundy's Banners' Banana Prices Are Rising

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FRESH PRODUCE TRENDS: Yes, Roundy's Banners' Banana Prices Are Rising

With grocers and manufacturers coming under fire by consumer groups for allegedly obfuscating the issue of rising prices, Milwaukee-based Roundy's at presstime made a commendable move by alerting customers to a price hike on bananas.

When asked to elaborate on what prompted the 152-store Rainbow, Pick 'N Save, Copps and Metro Market parent to issue the consumer alert on banana price increases, Roundy's spokeswoman Vivian King shared a straightforward explanation: "We know how tough it is out there for everybody these days, and we just wanted to keep our customers informed of what has been happening with the banana industry because it is such a popular item in our stores."

Although King declined to elaborate on the estimated percentage increases consumers can expect, she pointed to the big-picture issues behind bananas' higher prices, namely a significant reduction in the global supply of bananas as a result of damage caused by flooding in Ecuador in February 2008, as well as increased global demand putting pressure on costs. Further, the cost of the fuel used to ship bananas from their growing areas to Roundy's markets has increased as much as 65 percent in the past year.

In seeking to further reassure consumers about the general topic of rising food prices, King says Roundy's vows "to continue to work hard with our suppliers to provide the best value for our customers because we know they expect us to do our best to keep retail prices from continuing to rise."