Case Study – Keeping Bananas Refrigerated


When you walk into the produce section of your local supermarket, you are often met by a display of bananas. If they’ve been properly cared for, they should be near perfect ripeness, so that you can take them home and enjoy them over the next several days. While readily available in most parts of the world, bananas are typically grown in regions that are thousands of miles and weeks away from your market. Knowing this, you might ask yourself how they make their way to you in consistently perfect condition. The short answer is Carrier, an expert in transport and commercial refrigeration.

With more than 15 million metric tons moved globally each year, bananas are the number one fruit export in the world. Bananas are picked before they ripen, shipped and kept green until they arrive at their destination. It takes precise environmental control during shipment to ensure they make it to consumers to be enjoyed at perfect ripeness.

From the time they leave the tree, bananas are at risk of spoilage if not kept at temperatures between 54°F and 58°F (12°C-14°C) and at relative humidities between 90-95 percent. Any deviation from these temperatures and humidities can seriously jeopardize the quality of an entire shipment. If bananas get too warm, they will ripen too fast; if too cold, they will develop dark spots or not ripen at all.

During ocean transport Carrier’s industry-leading PrimeLINE® container refrigeration units protect delicate bananas by maintaining precise temperature, humidity and air circulation. PrimeLINE units also provide greater energy efficiency, making them the preferred technology of many of the world’s largest banana growers and shippers. And now, Carrier’s breakthrough NaturaLINE™ unit can do the job with a 35 percent carbon reduction over entry tier units.

While Carrier container refrigeration solutions keep the bananas at peak ripeness until they reach port, their journey doesn’t end there. Carrier Vector™ and Pulsor™ units with E-Drive™ all-electric technology maintain the necessary conditions on trailer loads and light commercial vans for safe, quiet, and efficient ground transport of bananas to wholesalers and retailers.

Even after the bananas arrive at markets, Carrier’s work is not done. Our innovative CO2OLtec™ commercial refrigeration equipment, which uses the natural refrigerant carbon dioxide, keeps the bananas’ temperature at a constant 63°F (17°C) to make sure they stay fresh as they ripen.

With weeks-long journeys over sea and land, bananas are passed through a number of different refrigerated environments. To ensure a consistent cold chain – and ultimately, desired ripeness – the journey can be tracked using Carrier Sensitech temperature-monitoring devices, which can pinpoint if and where in the supply chain issues affecting quality may have arisen.

Ensuring that the world’s most-shipped fruit is at its peak when it reaches consumers requires a carefully orchestrated and closely monitored process. With unparalleled expertise and innovative solutions, Carrier plays a critical role every step of the way.


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