Reducing food waste one banana at a time

Boy in stroller holding bananas
April 29, 2019
by Tori Waite

Whether you eat bananas as a grab-and-go treat or an ingredient in a smoothie – they are delicious and packed with nutrients.

Even though bananas are so popular, they are rarely found in food banks because they’re not always available and are extremely sensitive to temperature – if they get too hot, they’ll brown before your very eyes! Since bananas cannot be grown in the United States, importing costs often hinder food banks from sourcing bananas. That’s why many food banks rely on donors to get the bananas their clients love.

Grocery stores require fruits to be specific sizes, shapes and colors – but if the fruit is too “ugly,” they are destined for the dumpster. Or if no retailers are interested in buying the bananas once they reach the United States, they are discarded. It may sound absurd – but food waste is a reality in our country.

One of our solutions to solving hunger is rescuing good food by partnering with companies like Chiquita. Through our partnership, we’re ensuring that perfectly good bananas are getting to the food banks that need them! So far, 3.1 million pounds of bananas have been rescued instead of being wasted. And about a million more pounds per month will be put into the hands of people needing a nutritious snack.

Community Kitchen worker holding bananas

These rescued bananas are making a big difference for food banks across the country – food banks like St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Arizona. One of their food programs truly enjoying these bananas is the Community Kitchen, a twelve-week culinary training program for those struggling with unemployment. Supplied with such sweet ingredients, students, like Cidni, are learning how to make recipes including banana bread and banana pudding.

There is no reason to waste delicious bananas that may be too long or the wrong shade of yellow. If we work together, we can fight food waste and put more nutritious food on the tables of hungry families across the country.

Test your food waste knowledge and tell us if you would Waste It or Taste It! Every completed quiz will help provide a $1 donation.