These diagrams illustrate how the value from the sale of bananas can be distributed along the supply chain.
Supermarket price wars
Bananas are frequently a weapon of choice in the price wars pursued by our major supermarkets. Over the last few years, banana prices have been pushed down to ridiculously low levels, sometimes as little as 36p per kilo, and averaged 68p per kilo in the biggest UK retailers for most of 2013 - more than a third less than they were in 2002! As a result, average banana consumer prices have fallen sharply by more than 50% in real terms between 2000 and 2014.
Although supermarkets sometimes fund these price wars and enjoy significant buyer power, in general the cuts are simply passed onto suppliers until they reach plantation workers, the weakest link in the chain and therefore the 'easiest' to squeeze. Workers are however the ones that can least afford the cuts. Their tiny share of total value often fails to provide a living wage (to cover essential needs including food, housing and education). The majority of plantation workers live in poverty and too many still have their most basic labour rights abused. Furthermore, price wars also affect smaller independent producers who are unable to trade at such low prices.
"The Aldi price": It’s time to peel the banana scandal, Oxfam Germany blog post, September 2014
German value chains and impacts on small farmers and workers, Oxfam Germany, June 2014
Britains's Bruising Banana Wars, a Fairtrade Foundation Report, February 2014
Listen to the Radio 4 Food Programme: Cut Price Fruit, Mon, 15 Nov 2010: Supermarket fruit wars - Sheila Dillon finds out if they cause pain for the producers.