(Nov. 15) Chiquita is test-marketing bananas in three-packs designed to ripen them while also extending their shelf life.

The Fresh & Ready three-packs offer shoppers the ability to have bananas at the right stage between shopping trips, said Mike Mitchell, Chiquita’s director of communications.

“Most people shop once a week,” Mitchell said. “They may pick up a cluster of bananas, which will be less ripe at the beginning of the week and too ripe at the end of the week.”

Testing began in late October.

The packages are being test-marketed in Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets Inc. locations in southern Florida. They are also being tested in several other states and supermarkets, but Mitchell declined to specify where.

Each package weighs 17.2 ounces. Retail prices and merchandising strategies vary by location, Mitchell said.

The modified-atmosphere packaging used for the Fresh & Ready bananas extends shelf life by about four days, Mitchell said.

It is similar to the technology used for Chiquita-to-Go, the company’s line of single bananas that are marketed to convenience stores. The bananas are packaged in 12-packs with a polymer wrap manufactured by Landec Corp., San Mateo, Calif.

Chiquita expands on innovative banana packs
Boxes of 12 individual cavendish bananas are sold to convenience stores in the Chiquita-to-Go line. The packaging technology is similar to that used with Chiquita's new fresh & ready bananas.