7-Eleven Expands Banana Tests


7-Eleven stores in Florida and southern California are joining more than two dozen of the chain’s Dallas-area locations in test marketing single, plastic-wrapped bananas from Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Miami, The Packer reported.


A 60-day test of the bananas in Dallas concluded early this month.


“The initial test was in just 27 stores near our office, so our management team could keep an eye on how they were doing,” said Margaret Chabris, director of corporate communications for 7-Eleven. “We were pleased with the results and want to validate those results by expanding to other areas.”


The next phase will add the test at 120 stores in Florida, and a to-be-determined number of stores in southern California. An upcoming meeting between 7-Eleven and Del Monte executives will target the California stores participating in the test marketing and decide when the next phase of the test will begin, Chabris told The Packer.


The bananas are delivered in a recyclable plastic film-developed by Del Monte-that controls ripening, reduces bruising, and extends shelf life up to five days, said Dennis Christou, Del Monte vice president of marketing.


The single bananas “give significant advantages to the convenience store operators by ensuring that they have an optimal quality product that lasts longer and reduces their overall costs,” Christou said.


Because the bananas have a longer shelf life, they don’t need to be delivered as often, cutting down on shipping costs and fuel usage. 


If the results of the testing are positive, 7-Eleven will launch the program on a region-by-region basis in the U.S. at all of the nearly 5,800 7-Eleven stores before the end of 2010, Chablis said. The chain expects to sell more than 27 million bananas this year, up from 19 million in 2007.





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