Vacuum-packed bananas prove practical for Ecuadorian company

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Vacuum-packed bananas prove practical for Ecuadorian company

Bananas may come in one of the most perfect forms of natural packaging, but an Ecudorian company has done away with peels to improve shelf life through vacuum seals. vacuum packed bananas _ Platano Macho

In 2003, Plátano Macho S.A. took this different tack on the commodity crop  and sent the value-added product to a fair in Germany, executive president Carlos López tells

"We decided to do it without the peel because of the problems we were having with the fresh fruit. You can't forget that bananas are one of the most perishable products on the market," he says.

He says the method holds off the fruit's decomposition process, while also avoiding shipping garbage in the form of the peel and just shipping pure food instead.

"What we saw through the tests we did by vacuum packing it with machines, is that we have a minimum time of 48 days' duration for the fruit. Also, we are sending fruit instead of rubbish. We are sending the pulp, the flesh of the fruit," he says.

"So we carry a higher quantity per container of something that is purely food in a presentation of three or five fingers, or 3-5kg of fruit for restaurants, which is what is most asked for in the United States.

"We export around nine containers weekly. These are sent to Amsterdam, Spain, the United States. In the case of Europe, shipments are lower. A large part of production goes to the United States, to New York mainly.

He emphasizes that the bananas are 100% natural and the peel is eliminated because it's the main source of ethylene, which is what ripens the fruit. In this way, he says a more practical, durable and easy-to-consume product is sent, without mentioning the money saved from throwing out the peels.

However, López mentions production has been difficult as the investment cost in the equipment to seal products is very high, but he still expects to raise the quantity of exports and enhance product promotion over the next six months.

"At the moment we are not doing much to promote the product because the investment for just one machine to vacuum pack is higher than US$90,000, so we don't have the capacity to produce much."At the moment we can only cover Spain and the United States - that's where almost all our products without peel go, and for that we have exclusive clients.

"We don't send anything for domestic consumption, just for export."

Plátano Macho S.A. has been in the business of tropical fruit production and export for 14 years, with products including Cavendish bananas, plantains, pineapples and cassava.



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