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16 • The Produce News • October 6-20, 2014 Agroamerica’s One Banana brand to launch in November B Y T IM L INDEN Agroamerica, one of the larg- er growers and shippers of bananas in the world, announced that it will launch a new brand — One Banana — that will be available to U.S. and European retailers by the first week of November. In an email interview with The Produce News, José Galvez, vice president of Agrofruit (a company named used inter- changeably with Agroamerica), said the new brand represents “a product of high-quality stan- dards and social and environ- mental compliance. The new name refers to a concept of unique leadership in which there is an administrative struc- ture that favors a direct rela- tionship between the producer and the customer.” The firm is striving to make One a better company, with the highest quality bananas pro- duced in the best geographic regions. He said the bananas will exceed market standards and the goal is to have their quality become the “bench- mark” for consumers. Agroamerica began in Guatemala in 1958 with a small banana plantation. Over the years, it has grown into a multinational company that employs 12,000 people and produces 22 million boxes of bananas each year. It is a fami- ly-owned company with opera- tions in the United States, Guatemala, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama. Over the years, it has devel- oped relationships, and often joint ventures, with some of the biggest banana brands in the world, including Fyffes, Dole, Del Monte and Chiquita. In fact, Galvez said “we are still packing for most of them.” He added that about a decade ago, the company start- ed building relationships directly with retailers in the United States and then expand- ed to markets in Canada, Europe and Asia with its “WATTAfruit” label. Besides bananas, Agroameri- ca also produces and distrib- utes pineapples and vegetable oils. The firm has worked on becoming a leader in socially responsible and environmen- tally sustainable farming. The company has implemented rig- orously developed workplace safety standards, the latest water conservation and rainwa- ter collection technologies and industry-leading worker bene- For over 100 years Driscoll’s has been providing you with Only The Finest Berries fits. Its charitable endeavors have benefited more than 19,000 people across four rural com- munities in Guatemala, by among other things providing access to medical clinics and nutritional programs. It claims to be the only banana company to have 100 percent of its farms certified by the Rainforest Alliance and Global GAP, and it said it has achieved a 26 per- cent reduction in water usage, 66 percent reduction in plastic consumption and captures 33,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Galvez said One Banana is focusing on the production and ‘Our plan is to grow as demand grows for each different market that we get to (North America, Europe, Mediterranean and Asia).’ — José Galvez Come taste the tradition at PMA booth 1826. UPDATES distribution of conventional and organic bananas. “Our plan is to grow as demand grows for each differ- ent market that we get to (North America, Europe, Mediterranean and Asia),” he said. “For right now, our plan is to remain with bananas, which is the only product we grow for which we can ensure its high quality and sustainability.” He added that the firm’s 22 million cartons of production represents about 9 percent of the U.S. market. About 96 per- cent of its production is export- ed with 4 percent used for domestic consumption as well as its local social programs The company is vertically integrated and will sell most of its production directly to retail- ers from its port of entry, but Galvez said the firm will use some strategic partners for spe- cial markets throughout the United States. “One has an integrated structure from farm to store,” Galvez said. “The company provides a vertically controlled, transparent farm-to-store sup- ply chain that provides the buyer with a new and better way of doing business. It becomes a single point of con- tact by assuming full responsi- bility for the entire chain and controlling the quality produce from farm to the store. ONE is committed to a sustainable future.”