Why a South Korean supermarket is selling bananas in different stages of ripeness

August 16, 2018 - 5:29 PM
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South Korean supermarket E-Mart started selling bananas in different stages of ripeness to ensure that it wouldn't get spoiled easily. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos via Twitter/Jay Lim)

South Korean supermarket E-Mart is getting praises for selling bananas in different stages of ripeness in one pack to allow consumers to eat one fruit each day.

Twitter user Jay Lim shared that the supermarket is selling a “One-A-Day Banana” pack that consists of bananas that are both ripe and not fully ripe.

People praised the innovation, saying that it solves the problem of food wastage because a bundle of bananas doesn’t have to be consumed at the same time due to the fruit’s quick ripening process.

Usually, bananas are sold as bundles in groceries and supermarkets.

The South Korean supermarket is selling the packs under the Haru Hana Banana label—which translates to “eat a banana every day.” Each pack costs 2,980 South Korean won, according to their website.

The banana’s ripening process

Bananas begin to change color and texture once they are picked.

After that, the hormones inside the fruit convert amino acids into ethylene gas that stimulates the production of enzymes. Ethylene is also known as the “ripening hormone” in fruits.

Once enzymes are produced, the banana changes its color from green to yellow. Meanwhile, its greenish hue is attributed to chlorophyll, a molecule found in plants.

When the banana turns yellow, its texture becomes softer because of the ethylene. It will continue to ripen until it starts to turn brown.

Many fruits also produce ethylene but bananas have it in large amounts, hence the fast ripening process.

The color of green bananas is attributed to the amount of chlorophyll in the plant where it came from. (Public Domain Pictures/Paul Brennan)

According to Brittanica, “While a banana in the beginning of the ripening process might become sweeter and turn yellow, it will eventually overripen by producing too much of its own ethylene.”

“High amounts of ethylene cause the yellow pigments in bananas to decay into those characteristic brown spots in a process called enzymatic browning.”

Go bananas! 

The fascination with bananas is not a surprise since it is one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world.

Medical News Today reported that Americans eat bananas more than apples and oranges combined.

The fruit is thought to lower blood pressure, help decrease the risk of asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, digestive problems and even cancer.

They are packed with potassium, magnesium, vitamins B6 and C, fiber, net carbs, protein and potent antioxidants like dopamine and catechins.

Furthermore, bananas may help with weight loss since it has high amounts of resistant starch (particularly the unripe ones) that may help reduce a person’s appetite.

A green, unripe banana contains around 70-80% starch—mostly resistant starch. This starch is often classified as dietary fiber.

Green bananas also contain pectin that prevents high cholesterol and colon and prostate cancer.

A yellow banana contains lots of nutrients and can also help regulate heart function, lower cholesterol levels and improve the digestive system’s health, among others. — Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos; Photo from Jay Lim via Twitter