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September 15, 2011


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Jeff Tom

The reason is that SB signs a large contract with its current fruit producer/supplier/ It is actually cheaper to buy in bulk/ship/distribute according to the contract than to set up specific purchasing/delivery/orders... even locally.
Yes, they COULD do it. But it is not worth the time/effort or cost.


Dole isn't stupid so there is a reason they ship bananas to Hawaii. It might be as simple as local bananas aren't avaiable year round. But, then what do I know as my shit stinks.


@Jeff Tom: To me, you sort of nailed it - "not worth the time/effort or cost." Like many decisions by *$ and lots of other large companies, the only real consideration is cost. Short-term, quantifiable cost, directly to the company. Other costs - long term ones, ones that are hard to count, costs to society... those are ignored. On a per-banana cost, the local ones might cost a few pennies more, because of the national contract. But for those few pennies, local family farms could be supported; environmental impact would be way less; quality would be better (Dole raises bananas to survive transportation, not to taste good).

You can argue that it's for the benefit of the shareholders. I would suggest that those who only want to suck money out of a company with no other concerns, should be thought of as criminally immoral.



Can't wait to go to Montana and eat a locally grown orange or grapefruit.

Cost is always a driver, but availability is a close second. Are locally grown bananas available in Hawaii year round?

James Lamb

I think it's a little unfair and disingenuous, @Shifted, to rail against cost as a driving factor. It's these same economies of scale that allow us to know that we'll enjoy the same product consistently from care to cafe. Granted, it's the reason some people refuse to shop chain stores (be they coffee or computers or couches).

Maybe with an increase in availability and a decrease in cost Starbucks can change where it sources its bananas. Of course, there's chicken and egg issues there as well.

Maybe this isn't Starbucks' fault but Dole's. Shame on them for becoming a big greedy company willing to undercut the little guy in order to make the big sales and in the process holding our favorite coffee chain in its evil clutches. (Starbucks certainly isn't undercutting anyone on cost.)

I never even noticed Starbucks sold bananas. I'm there for the coffee and occasionally a pumpkin scone.

Jeff Tom

THe other thing is that bananas are seasonal, even in HA. Certain times of year, you HAVE to ship them in from other parts of the world (Ecuador/Costa Rica). And then, you could not source local, even if you wanted to.

short drip

Question: What is Veranda Blend? I tried it and thought it was the most disgusting coffee I have ever had.

Watery, bland, commercial, flat.

I am a Verona, Kenya, Anv Blend and Xmas blend drinker.
What is the program here with the Veranda Blend?


@Veranda Blend
Never heard of it, nor has google in conjunction with Starbucks.
Where did you obtain this? a Licensed store or a cafe that sells starbucks products?

Jeff Tom

Did you mean Gazebo and not Veranda?


@James - I wasn't railing about cost as the factor, but against profits for shareholders being the only factor.

Why should we expect fresh bananas year-round in every location? (This is not directed at *$ or restricted to bananas, it's everywhere). If something is not in season, we (the world) spend money and resources shipping it. This money could be better spent towards long-term fixes for famine and starvation. If that means I have to "survive" without a banana, I think I'll get over it.

And as far as demonizing Dole, (or other large agribusinesses) they created this unrealistic expectation. Redirecting their energies toward helping end starvation would be the morally right thing to do, but it's not a consideration, as it might create a "slight downtick" in shareholder profits.

short drip

VERANDA- My husband used to work for Sbux Licensed stores and received packages from corp in the mail of "stuff" prior to a launch. He no longer works there but must still be on the mailing list. He received a few pounds of "Veranda" Blend from the YRP. It is the lighest roast I have ever seen. I too googled it trying to find out what the heck it is.
They came in 1/2 bags marked "samples".
It is just plain really bad coffee.


I don't work for Starbucks. But it does appear that the one I frequent does use locally produced/bottled milk (Berkeley Farms) which I assume translates into more than just the milks, but possibly cream too.

And someone more knowledgeable can perhaps verify this but aren't different bakeries across the US and internationally awarded the contract to supply the baked goods?

Of course the labor for each store is local.

I see no reason to be butt hurt about the bananas. Seriously.

I used to live in Hawaii. The bananas are available there in the local grocery stores if anyone MUST have a locally grown banana.

From a large company stand point it makes much better sense to negotiate and write up one contract than to write 50 or more contracts. Lawyers would have to be paid to review each and every word of those contracts. A $2 banana would become a pipe dream.

With all the very valid reasons people sometimes have to be upset / concerned, locally grown Hawaiian bananas seem to hold the least importance...that is, unless your are a banana grower in Hawaiian. Then you might want to have a slice of the Starbucks banana pie.

just saying

@shifted: while it seems noble and grandiose to imagine that instead of eating all foods all year round, we should put our resources to ending famine - but the world produces more then enough food to end famine.

the production of food could feed the world at least once over.
the problem is not about the western world getting bananas shipped from warm places during off seasons - it's so much deeper than that; so much so that it makes no sense that i can't get a banana in December just because some asshat politicians and militant powers that hold their populations hostage can't sort out the world.


We buy ours (bananas) from the grocery store across the street. How's that for local?


"The reason is that SB signs a large contract with its current fruit producer/supplier/ It is actually cheaper to buy in bulk/ship/distribute according to the contract than to set up specific purchasing/delivery/orders..."

First, Starbucks doesn't offer much that is technically "fresh." If the Hawaii stores have a lunch program, then they probably come from the vendor that supplies those items. But banans are pretty much it for fresh loose produce.

It's horribly expensive to ship goods to hawaii (which is why everthing there is so insanely expensive). Starbucks probably could save a lot of money to buy local there and run a slightly different food program than what they do mainland. THey're just not bright enough to do it.

socialist slayer

Hawaii can't compete with S. America in the banana business just like California has to ship in a pre-made bridge from China. That is the result of burdensome regulations. Labor costs are only one small component.

When it's cheaper to buy a banana from a grower thousands of miles away than it is from a guy down the road, that is a clear signal by the market that you are doing something wrong. The answer is not tariffs, it's competition.


Along with bananas, what about all the wonderful coffee being grown and roasted right here in America...does SB even sell Kona?

Additionally, I've been wondering for some time why SB has chosen to sell nothing but Asian and African coffee, instead of Central and South American.

Any answers?

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