Nineteen cent bananas had become a staple at the beloved grocery chain. Now, individual bananas cost 23 cents, the company confirmed.

Trader Joe’s raises banana prices for the first time in more than 20 years

Individual bananas for 23 cents at a Trader Joe's in Washington, D.C. on March 26, 2024. Catherine Douglas Moran/Grocery Dive

Dive Brief:

  • Trader Joe’s has increased its banana prices from 19 cents individually to 23 cents, a spokesperson for the grocery chain said Monday in an email.
  • The price change occurred recently and “still represents a tremendous everyday value” for bananas, the spokesperson, Nakia Rohde, wrote.
  • “We only change our prices when our costs change, and after holding our price for Bananas at 19¢ each for more than two decades, we’ve now reached a point where this change is necessary,” Rohde wrote.

Dive Insight:

The 21% increase for individual bananas at Trader Joe’s is notable as grocers have long spotlighted bananas in their marketing efforts as a way of signaling low prices to shoppers. 

Over the years, Trader Joe’s proudly touted its previous individual banana price. The grocer’s website shares the story of a long-time customer in Sun City, Arizona, who nearly 25 years ago told then-CEO Dan Bane that she wanted to be able to buy bananas individually.

“Back then, we thought 19¢ was a fair price for one banana,” the grocer noted. “Decades later, Bananas are still only 19¢ each, every day, in every store. Heck, if you’re feeling really wild, you can buy a big bunch of five beautiful bananas for less than a buck!” 

Now, five bananas cost $1.15.

Keeping prices the same over many years is difficult to do in an industry where inflation, supply chains and consumer promotions are constantly changing. But it does happen in rare cases. One other notable example is Costco’s $1.50 deal for a hot dog and a soda, which has been in place since 1985. 

While the banana prices are now higher, Rohde noted that Trader Joe’s has lowered prices for other items.

“[W]e have been able to negotiate costs for a number of our products, and have lowered our retail prices accordingly. A few examples: Raw Almonds are now $3.99 a pound, down a dollar; Romaine Hearts are now $2.99, down 50¢; Organic Tri-Color Bell Peppers are $4.49, a reduction of 50¢; and Green Onions are now 99¢, our lowest price in at least a decade,” Rohde wrote.

While consumers continue to worry about food prices, grocery inflation has calmed in recent months. In February, food-at-home prices rose at a 1% annual rate — the slowest rate of grocery inflation since June 2021 — according to Consumer Price Index data.

While the bananas are seeing a price increase, Trader Joe’s customers can expect the return of a widely popular item: mini canvas tote bags. The grocery chain told Eat This, Not That! that the $2.99 bags, which had sold out at some stores, are coming back this summer.

  • Grocery inflation hits a fresh low By Sam Silverstein • March 13, 2024
  • The surprising story behind Trader Joe’s 19 cent bananas

    Trader Joe’s raises banana prices for the first time in more than 20 years

    CNBC

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