UK food technology company It’s Fresh! has signed a deal to help transform the Ecuadorian banana trade. ACORBANEC, the Association of Marketing & Exportation of Bananas, will help increase the use of the innovative It’s Fresh! technology in Ecuador. 

It’s Fresh! filters absorb ethylene – the ripening hormone – from fresh fruit and vegetables and has been proven to prolong the green life of bananas throughout the supply chain.

Ecuador exports half the world’s bananas and through this agreement, It’s Fresh! will be introduced to 28 affiliate growers and exporters in the region. ACORBANEC represents 28 growers and exporters and has pledged its commitment to the uptake of It’s Fresh! technology amongst its affiliates. 

It’s Fresh! representatives will travel with ACORBANEC around the key Ecuadorian regions or Guayaquil and Machala to meet with associates, company owners and other exporters in the region to present It’s Fresh! and its benefits. 

ACORBANEC is currently working on reducing costs and sees It’s Fresh! as a tool to save money by delivering better arrivals and longer green life, which is a key characteristic of Ecuadorian bananas. As part of the partnership, It’s Fresh! will offer free training programmes on the benefits of ethylene control and banana post-harvest. 

The preservation of the green life of bananas is of huge importance to Ecuadorian exporters, and research conducted by Dr. Manuel Madrid in 2018, demonstrated that the use of It’s Fresh! filters doubled banana green life to an average of 70+ days when used in a modified atmosphere. 

The It’s Fresh! filter successfully absorbs ethylene – the ripening hormone – from the bananas’ environment and has been shown to be more efficient and environmentally friendly than alternative methods that are currently being used. 

ACORBANEC Executive Director Richard Salazar said: “Extending the green life of bananas is vital – not just for business but also for addressing the global food waste crisis. We think the It’s Fresh! technology could be a real game changer for our affiliates and look forward to introducing them in the coming months.” 

It’s Fresh! Director of Latin America Nicolas Duran said: “This partnership marks a new chapter for It’s Fresh! and is part of our ongoing commitment to reducing food waste globally. 

“We work hard to collaborate with key stakeholders in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry worldwide, and by working with ACORBANEC we will be able to introduce our technology to countless more exporters and growers in Ecuador which is such a key region for the banana trade.” 

Industry standards require bananas to remain green during shipment and distribution, meaning that any bananas that have ripened in transit are rendered unsaleable and go to waste. 

Bananas are now the world’s most exported fruit and are the most popular fruit in the USA – we imported an astonishing 890m kilos of bananas in 2018*. There is immense pressure on banana growers and exporters to ensure their produce does not ripen in transit and huge wastage is incurred, having a significant impact on farmers’ output. 

Ecuador is the leading exporter of bananas ahead of the Philippines, Belgium, Costa Rica, Colombia and Guatemala. In 2017, Ecuador delivered $3bn worth of bananas to 71 countries worldwide**. According to ACORBANEC data, until March of this year, Ecuador’s main market has been the EU, receiving 29% of its exports.

Ecuador’s banana market has seen a 2% year-on-year increase of its total banana export volume during the first quarter of 2019. Fruit Profits Managing Director Dr. Manuel Madrid said: “It is clear that the carbon footprint of our banana consumption must be addressed and the new technology developed by It’s Fresh!™ provides a means of ensuring far more bananas make it to our shelves.” 

It’s Fresh! are keen to replicate this type of agreement with other key fruit and veg associations across Latin America and worldwide, helping to empower those at the start of the supply chain to increase revenue and reduce waste. The agreement is the latest news from leading food tech company It’s Fresh!™, the firm behind the unique filters used by supermarkets to extend the life and quality of fruit by two to four days. Now adopted by many of the main supermarket chains worldwide, It’s Fresh!™ is setting new industry benchmarks for reducing waste in food production and consumption.