Vice.com’s Munchies reports that at Walmart, it’s all about the banana. “You may associate the world’s largest retailer with toys and tires and the occasional pleather thong, but Walmart is also the largest grocer in the US. And their bestselling product is bananas. Seriously.”
According to the report, the retailer sells US$200 billion a year in groceries, and the grocery sector constitutes 56%of its total sales. Bananas make up a large part of that revenue – selling 1 billion pounds of them a year.
Needless to say, the business people at Walmart knowing the power of the banana are trying to work the fruit to their advantage, for example, experimenting with ways to use bananas to lure people to the back of the store, so they’ll shop more.
As part of the revamping of their superstore strategy, Walmart said in a blog post said that the banana— the heavy marketing artillery; are putting bananas “toward the back to help lead customers through” the store.
So it’s not electronics or video games, it’s bananas that are the draw at Walmart.
Why bananas, you ask?
According to Dan Koppel, the author of Bananas: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World, bananas are the cheapest fruit in the US, even though they are usually grown thousands of miles away in Latin America, bananas outsell apples and oranges combined.
The banana’s ascendancy owes much to a pretty nefarious combination of corporate strong-arm tactics and Western hegemony: “Over and over, banana companies, aided by the American military, intervened whenever there was a chance that any ‘banana republic’ might end its cooperation,” says Koppel.
Walmart attributes America’s love for bananas to a less, shall we say, Machiavellian source. Walmart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan told Business Insider, “Customers love bananas because they’re an easy, healthy food to pack and eat and very affordable. Kids also love bananas, and so a lot of customers are probably thinking of their children.”
In Costa Rica, Walmart stores, smaller than the US, bananas are a big seller. But unlike in Walmart stores in the U.S. and Canada, where you can find bananas from Honduras, Colombia and Costa Rica, in Ticolandia only Costa Rican bananas can be found.