Battle of the bananas: Dole thrusts, All Good parries

All Good Bananas won the Sustainability prize at the TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards recently. And, according to its entry, it managed to gain four percent market share and sell its Fairtrade bananas at a premium. But not everyone is singing its sustainable praises, as evidenced by an email we received from Steve Barton, the New Zealand representative for Dole Asia, that questioned the assertions made by its smaller competitor. 

Dear Editor,

A correction is required to the article and claims from All Foods [sic]Bananas on their market penetration.

If they sold 1,000,000 ‘bunches’ (clusters) of bananas, over 12 months May 2010 to May 2011, on a market which sells over 75,000,000 per annum their market share is 1.3 % at best.

Not over 4% as they claim.

Would it be more apt to say they are 300% less successful than they claim?

We sent Dole’s query to All Good’s co-founder Simon Coley (who also co-founded Powershop, another TVNZ-NZ Marketing Award winner) and asked for a response.

Good to see Stephen Barton’s reading NZ Marketing and checking our facts. We’d be silly to bullshit you or our followers and the numbers we gave you can be verified with independent data.

The Article states: “Its market share has gone from zero to more than four percent of the New Zealand market, it’s sold one million bunches of Fairtrade bananas at up to 33 percent more than the price of its larger competitors and it’s even become the banana of choice for the animals at Auckland and Wellington Zoos.”

The reference to “four percent of the New Zealand market” is based on a point in time, just about the time the article was published – so at that point in time we had grown to hold 4% of the market by value.

The reference to the ‘million bunches sold’ is based on a period of time from market launch to about 1 year after we launched.

Steve has put the two together, which wasn’t intended. Obviously at the point we launched we did not have 4% of the market, which the article makes clear, but by the time the article went to print we were selling approximately 4% by $ retail turnover or value (not kg volume) of the total value of all the bananas sold in New Zealand.  So ‘market share’ was based on total market turnover in $ rather than kg.

A statement from Stuff dated March 2011 puts NZ’s banana market at $142.9m with data from Statistics NZ.

”According to the latest Statistics New Zealand household economics survey, New Zealanders spent $142.9 million on bananas last year.”

If we take this figure as the retail price for total turnover based on an average retail price of $3.99 we generate retail turnover of that gives us a 4.19% share of market.

Interestingly we’ve seen the size of the market grow by volume but not value in the past few months as a glut of cheap bananas have been dumped in NZ supermarkets. Although we were concerned this might adversely affect the sale of Fairtrade bananas, they’ve held steady.

I expect that our share of market by volume today would be more like 3% but we’re in the business of quality of product and the lives of the people growing it and eating it – not quantity.

Hope this clarifies things.

Barton and Dole were invited to respond to All Good’s claims, and also to discuss its sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup and the move to bypass Fairtrade and introduce its own ethical choice label to its bananas. But they are yet to respond.

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