WSJ Boosts ‘Baby’ Bananas

The venerable newspaper takes a look at how specialty produce breaks in store by store

Baby bananas, center, at Key Food in Brooklyn. Image source: Barry Newman for The Wall Street Journal

LOS ALAMITOS, CA (January 2015) – The produce industry is starting 2015 with a big bang in the form of an article about exotic bananas published by the Wall Street Journal.

“Is the Time Right for Baby Bananas?” by Barry Newman follows the trail of the small bananas from test to staple at a Key Food store in Brooklyn. The article posted to the newspaper’s website on Saturday.

When the store’s produce manager, Mario Marabello, first brought “babies,” as they are known, into the store, they were bought mainly by people who’d had them in another country. Then he hit upon over-wrapping them in trays, and newbies began trying them. He told Newman the size of babies is “terrific.”

William Goldfield, a spokesman for Dole at the New York Produce Show in December, told Newman that the Cavendish—the big banana in the U.S. market—is the “only banana consumers are comfortable with.”

For another perspective, Newman spoke to Karen Caplan, President and CEO of Frieda’s Inc., who asked him, “Did people ask Chrysler for the minivan?” She also told him that the banana market in the U.S. needs a “disruption.” Karen had given a presentation for the produce press when she was approached by Newman. Frieda’s is an importer of baby bananas.

The Wall Street Journal article is the result of an effort by the New York Produce Show to solicit coverage of the produce industry in the mainstream press.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Inc. celebrates more than 50 years of innovation in fresh produce. Founded in 1962 by Dr. Frieda Caplan, Frieda’s was the first wholesale produce company in the U.S. to be founded, owned, and operated by a woman, and is still a family- and women-owned business today. With the mission of changing the way America eats fruits and vegetables, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 specialty items to U.S. produce departments, including Kiwifruit, Spaghetti Squash, Habanero Peppers, Black Garlic, Sunchokes®, Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato, and many more. Frieda’s programs for 2014 included Power of Purple, with a focus on the nutritional value of purple; Frieda’s Flavor Essentials, highlighting and promoting specialty ingredients for everyday cooking; and Eat One Fruit a Day That Scares You, which encourages everyone to #FearNoFruit. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce, and