As elsewhere Down Under, denizens of Kookynie are inveterate banana munchers, or were, until Cyclone Yasi wiped out crops and sent prices stratospheric at $15+ per kg – making fresh meat cheaper. Our national favourite snack became an unaffordable habit. However hardcore banana-addicts have resorted to high-strength substitutes for their fix: packaged banana chips. But they are a mixed blessing, like methadone for heroin users.
At $3.68 for 400g packs at Coles that works out to $9.20 per kg, but of course they are skinless. Now this is where it gets tricky, as banana chips are made of 68% banana, plus coconut oil, sugar, honey and natural flavour (which contains maize-based maltodextrin), according to the label. So lots of added value and sweetness (health effects ignored), and long-lasting!
The real kicker is that chips are ‘packed in Australia from imported ingredients’. Yeah, they are actually produced overseas (Philippines, Pacific islands, Africa or Caribbean?). Add shipping and packaging to costs of production and local high-price benders are hard to justify. Apparently last month’s cold weather in QLD and rains in NSW hindered banana cropping, but post-Yasi plantings will be ready for harvesting soon.
Sadly Kookynie’s attempt at banana cultivation failed – a test plot behind the pub only produced more dust. Maybe the seeds needed watering? Meantime the KSIRO is trying to harvest desert peas for sale….mmm!
Alert for any price falls of fresh bananas, we keep a vigilant eye on them as we cruise past in the supermarket. Contrary to claims for the Banana Index, the economy hasn’t gone into recession on the back of higher banana prices. Meantime Working Families soldier on with other fruits and b-chips – that’s the Anzac spirit!