Despite the war, rising input costs, and delayed spring, “The show must go on,” as the saying goes. That is exactly what the team at No Bananas, with their quality tasting berry pop-up stores across 100+ stores in Estonia, is doing. According to the founder and owner of No Bananas, Andero Keronen, they look forward to Mother’s Day sales to help the company continue its best season in the past three years.
“Sure, spring is very slow to come. The sun is out, but the winds are strong, and it hasn’t gotten over 10 ºC (50 ºF) yet this spring. Sure, the war in Ukraine is wreaking havoc on our economy. Prices have risen in transportation, boxes, punnets, gasoline, electricity, etc. It’s nothing to go bananas about, but we’re not complaining. On the plus side, Mother’s Day is right around the corner, further boosting what is turning out to be a banner year at No Bananas. Covid’s gone. And we are finding our feet again. So far, it’s been our best season in the past three years. And our strawberries are as good as ever,” says an optimistic Keronen.
“We still put our money on the Camarosa strawberry variety, which we bring in from Greece, and sometimes other premium varieties from the Huelva region of Spain. Camarosas have a short shelf life. But they’ve also got a consistent excellent taste (10+ Brix) that creates a reliable eating experience for our customers. A consistent, reliable product is what customers want, and it’s how we’ve built a loyal following that’s been growing for the past 25 years. What we deliver is stated by what we don’t deliver. We don’t deliver bulls**t. There’s a whole lot of seriousness behind that bit of humor,” states Keronen.
No Bananas is active across Estonia, the northernmost of the three Baltic countries, with Latvia and Lithuania being the other two. The company sells strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and peas in 100+ service points in stores and malls across Estonia. “We have a dedicated team working around the clock, plus we put passion and care into our packaging, our delivery, our pop-up store service, and our display set-ups in supermarkets.”
But why peas together with strawberries? Keronen explains: “People love them, and the sweeter, the better. That’s what makes all our fresh fruits and peas stand out… sweetness! If you want to be sweet, you have to stay fresh.”
"What makes No Bananas and its products stand out are small quantities, quick sales, quality freshness, and efficient staff. From delivery to set up to display maintenance/rotation to clean up/waste removal, it’s as if we were never there. The only thing stores need to worry about is the profits made from our presence. And that’s not just about money. Having quality products in your stores creates a quality buzz. A quality buzz is what keeps people coming back.”
Nevertheless, prices fluctuate quickly and unpredictably in the berry business. “There’s always a wide range of price discrepancies depending on the quality of the berries and the market situation in general. Complicating matters more, the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) are heavily impacted by Poland’s open market status.”
“Poland’s population is six times larger than all three Baltic countries combined. Still, and as said above, the show must go on. Sure, there’s bad weather. Sure, there’s the war. But there’s also Mother’s Day and devoted customers waiting for our strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and peas to be delivered. Those returning smiles are what keep us going at No Bananas. That’s no bulls**t!” says a passionate Keronen.