A leading banana marketer plans to blow out 40 candles on its birthday cake at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2010 in Orlando, Fla.

Turbana celebrates 40 years

The Coral Gables, Fla.-based Turbana Corp. plans to celebrate its four decades of operation during an invitation-only Oct. 16 reception at the show.

“It is amazing how far the company has gone and how much it has grown since it started, not just as an importer of quality fruit, but as a leader of socially responsible farming and an advocate of Fair Trade,” Juan Alarcon, Turbana’s chief executive officer, said in a news release.

One big accomplishment has been the fortifying of the plantain category, said Marion Tabard, marketing director.

She said Turbana in 1985 pioneered the merchandising of the fruit into an important category.

“It has truly become a category where before, it was a single item,” Tabard said. “The volume has grown tremendously in the last few years. At the same time, the retailers’ interest has grown and has opened the door to new varieties, That’s why the plantain that has become a category.”

Founded by the Medellin, Colombia-based Uniban SA cooperative, which calls itself the world’s largest grower-owned banana company, Turbana led other innovations.

In 1986, it became the first importer to ship all of its cargo as unitized pallets.