Sweeter Banana Cooperative

The Sweeter Banana Cooperative, in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia, has found a way to combat the waste and repurpose fruit that has been deemed unfit for supermarket shelves and would otherwise end up in the ground, selling their ‘seconds produce’ to a gourmet gelato wholesaler in Perth.

Seconds produce refers to fruit and vegetables considered unfit for retail sale dud to undesirable sizing, superficial markings on the fruit from the growing process, or insufficient ripeness.

The cooperative formed in 1993, was frustrated to be throwing away around 60% of their crops due to the high cosmetic standards of retailers and consumers.

Matteo Bocecci, Perth based gelato maker is committed to supporting local growers, and interested in reducing waste.

He hopes to follow the success of the bananas, by making gelato from other seconds produce, beginning with mangoes.

In 2009, Sweeter Banana Cooperative made a commitment to developing environmentally sustainable growing methods, and began to search for a solution to its food wastage problems.

Sweeter Banana began to search for new markets for its second grade produce, pulping some for compost, and selling at a discounted rate to Perth Zoo, many of whose residents thrive on the fruit.

Bonus bananas are being turned into gourmet gelato by these Australian farmers. Gelato is the greatest. Wouldn’t it be even greater, if you could indulge your sweet tooth and help reduce food wastage at the same time?

Although individually these things only have a small impact, in recent years the combined initiatives have helped Sweeter Banana to cut its food wastage by a whopping 90%.

Banana producers in Carnarvon, 900 km north of Perth, has been forced to throw away roughly 60% of their crops in the past, due to undesirable sizing ripeness, and marks on the fruit.

However, since 2009, when a number of growers began working together under the Sweeter Banana Cooperative, the growers have managed to reduce their collective wastage to as low as 4%.

The cooperative has been  marketing ‘seconds’ produce as a lower-cost alternative, freezing unwanted fruit to supply a smoothie company, and baking banana bread.

Now in a new attempt to redirect would be waste produce, the cooperative has begun sending boxes of farm seconds to Perth to be made into gourmet banana gelato.


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