IRELAND – Dole Food Company has kicked off its banana-versary celebrations starting February 1, marking 125 years of cultivating, shipping, and offering the quintessential banana.

As the top fruit in America and one of the most historically purchased grocery items, this milestone holds special significance for the produce giant.

The festivities are set to unfold throughout the year, extending until December 2024, promising banana enthusiasts a continuous array of contests, partnerships, proclamations, recipes, and special appearances by none other than Bobby Banana – a 7-foot mascot dedicated to inspiring healthier living.

William Goldfield, Director of Corporate Communications for Dole, reflects on the brand’s evolution, stating, “From humble beginnings, Dole has become synonymous with bananas, forever changing the way we experience this delicious and nutritious fruit.”

He adds, “As we celebrate 125 years of growth, innovation, and our commitment to grow, process, and distribute our produce responsibly, we invite the world to join us on a journey that traces the deep roots of Dole’s past and paves the way for a brighter future.”

To directly engage with consumers, Dole is rolling out a series titled “125 Ways to Be Bananas,” an extensive web and social media initiative offering tips, recipes, digital downloads, and opportunities for sharing banana memories.

To make this celebration tangible for shoppers, Dole will introduce multiple waves of commemorative Dole 125th Banana-versary stickers on millions of Dole-branded bananas in the U.S. and Canada.

Collaborating with retailers, the company plans to create dedicated displays, point-of-purchase materials, and other in-store activations, bringing the festive spirit to the forefront of the consumer experience.

In the backdrop of this grand celebration, Dole has made strategic moves to bolster its tropical fruit shipping capacity.

The launch of a new weekly Northeast U.S. service, announced on January 9, aims to enhance shipping capabilities for bananas, pineapples, and various tropical fruits from Colombia, Honduras, and Guatemala into the Port of Wilmington, DE.

The service, operational since December 31, 2023, employs two 1,200 FEU container vessels – MV Robin-2 and MV Robin-5 – in a 14-day rotation.

With weekly ports of call-in key locations such as Santa Marta, Colombia, Puerto Castilla, Honduras, and a new port of service in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, the vessels culminate their journey in Wilmington each Saturday.

Nelson Montoya, President of Dole Fresh Fruit North America, expresses enthusiasm about this expansion, stating, “Dole is excited to expand our service level into the Northeast, bringing even more fresh tropical fruit to the market.”

The incorporation of additional vessels not only augments shipping capacity but also enhances fuel efficiency through slow-speed operation.

As Dole continues to commemorate its rich legacy and embrace the future with innovation, these strategic initiatives underscore the company’s commitment to delivering quality produce globally while ensuring sustainability in its operations.

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