There’s a reason why bananas are the world’s favorite fruit. They are cheap to buy, soft and easy to eat and full of fat-free nutrients. Frequently found in our lunchboxes, breakfast mix and often one of the first foods babies eat, they are a household staple. More than two-thirds of U.S shoppers include them in their regular grocery shopping.
But the much-loved banana is in trouble. Two damaging diseases are destroying our favorite yellow food and threatening to wipe out the bananas eaten by consumers in the U.S.
“Banana production as it stands is facing an existential crisis,” said Dan Bebber, a plant and disease specialist at the University of Exeter. “There will have to be a revolution in how bananas are produced for production to continue.”
Bananas have been eaten in the U.S. since the 19th century. But the rapid development of large-scale banana plantations and improved transport links from export markets in South America in the late 1800s facilitated a boom in consumption in the 20th century.