Ba­nana short­age strikes

The Dominion Post - - Business - Bri­anna McIl­raith

Super­mar­kets across the coun­try are run­ning low on ba­nanas, with some shelves com­pletely empty, due to a ship­ping de­lay.

A ship car­ry­ing loose ba­nanas, which are im­ported from Mex­ico, Ecuador and the Philip­pines, had to change its route, a Count­down spokesper­son said.

‘‘It is a na­tional is­sue but sup­ply varies from store to store.’’

Food­stuffs, which owns su­per­mar­ket chains New World and Pak’n Save, is also deal­ing with the short­age re­lat­ing to ship­ping is­sues.

Spokes­woman An­toinette Laird said: ‘‘Ba­nana sup­plies are short right now due to un­fore­seen ship­ping is­sues, but the good news is we ex­pect sup­ply to be back to nor­mal by the end of the month.’’

Stu­art Ur­bahn, the store man­ager of Count­down’s branch in The Val­ley Mega Cen­tre in New Ply­mouth, said his store was usu­ally run­ning out of ba­nanas by 3pm due to the short­age.

‘‘There is not enough to ser­vice all Count­downs. Nine times out of 10 we are run­ning out by about 3pm. We’re only putting a lit­tle bit out at a time.’’

Ba­nanas are the top-sell­ing item at Count­down super­mar­kets but the short­age would not in­crease prices, although they had grad­u­ally in­creased in the last few weeks, Ur­bahn said.

‘‘Ba­nanas are nor­mally No1 out of any­thing we’re sell­ing in the su­per­mar­ket ev­ery week. The only time ba­nanas get beaten is at Christ­mas time when straw­ber­ries be­come No 1.’’

Ur­bahn said he was ex­pect­ing ba­nanas to be in store in the next week to week and a half.

New World New Ply­mouth’s pro­duce man­ager, Pak­a­sit Hobin, said he was hop­ing to see ba­nanas in store ‘‘by later on next week’’.

Hobin said that when the ba­nanas did ar­rive in New Zealand they would have to go through in­spec­tion, and it could be two or three days be­fore they were re­leased onto su­per­mar­ket shelves.

A sim­i­lar short­age hap­pened in 2016 when a boat trans­port­ing ba­nanas broke down off the coast of Ecuador. Al­most a year prior, in 2015, the same sit­u­a­tion oc­curred.

In 2014 bad weather in the Philip­pines af­fected ba­nana-grow­ing con­di­tions, which also caused a short­age.

ALDEN WIL­LIAMS/STUFF

Ba­nanas are Count­down’s top-sell­ing item, ex­cept at Christ­mas when straw­berry sales take the No 1 spot.

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