CHARLOTTE, NC--(Marketwire -07/10/12)- Charlotte residents are passionate about their bananas -- so much so that the world's largest banana provider has named the Queen City a "Top Banana City" and included it in a summer initiative designed to encourage new uses for America's favorite fruit.
Dole's 2012 Go Bananas Every Day™ hits Charlotte in July as part of a year-long initiative to target health and fitness enthusiasts and make the iconic fruit an even bigger part of America's daily routine. Other 2012 Tour stops include Portland, Ore., Seattle and Baltimore.
Conceived by Dole Fresh Fruit, a subsidiary of Dole Food Company, Inc., the world's largest provider of fresh bananas, the Tour offers banana lovers in North Carolina and throughout the country compelling new ways to enjoy the fruit for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and as a healthier, natural alternative to processed energy bars and sports drinks loaded with sodium and sugar.
"Most Charlotteans wouldn't even think of a breakfast or lunch without bananas," explained David Bright, vice president of marketing for Dole Fresh Fruit. "In fact, this devotion has made bananas the top-selling item in grocery stores, enjoyed in more than 90 percent of American homes. Yet, even some of the most ardent banana fans aren't aware of the myriad of other ways to enjoy the fruit during the summer -- for dinner, dessert and as a healthier, more satisfying alternative to sugar-loaded energy bars and sports drinks."
"Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, bananas pack an amazing nutritional and energy punch. They really are nature's original energy bar."
To support this association, Dole recently sponsored an independent study at the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University and the Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory at North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, N.C., comparing bananas to sports drinks as an energy source for athletes during exercise. Results published May 17, 2012, on PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed, open-access, online journal published by the nonprofit Public Library of Science (PLoS), conclude that bananas consumed during exercise provide the same amount of energy and recovery time as sports drinks but at a fraction of the cost.
The study, titled Bananas as an Energy Source during Exercise, also reinforced those specific nutritional benefits that bananas provide over sports drinks, including improved blood antioxidant capacity and the vitamins, minerals and fiber needed by athletes to maintain their performance. For the complete study, go to http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0037479
As a "Top Banana City," Charlotte has been singled out by Dole for significant local advertising, online, social media and PR activities to encourage the region's disproportionately large percentage of banana-loving residents to widen their banana horizons even further. In addition to local advertising, Dole will be partnering with Charlotte retailers on a number of local in-store programs.
Throughout Charlotte in July, Dole representatives will honor those local restaurants, bars and other food-oriented businesses that have a unique connection to the fruit, or push the commonly accepted boundaries of banana cuisine. Dole will also work with local registered dieticians (RDs) and food bloggers to educate local residents about bananas through public appearances, sampling and tasting events.
For more information on DOLE Bananas, including recipes, serving suggestions and nutritional information from Dole and the Dole Nutrition Institute, go to www.dole.com/bananas or www.facebook.com/dolebananas. High-res photography of DOLE Bananas, recipes and marketing campaign elements also are available.
About DOLE Bananas
DOLE is the top-selling banana in America and the world -- in both conventional and organic product categories. From its founding by James Drummond Dole, the company has built its reputation on a ceaseless commitment to quality. Today, the DOLE brand stands for more than 150 years of quality produce -- and the world's largest supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables, including bananas. Dole strives to grow, produce, harvest, transport and distribute its bananas and other produce in the most environmentally and socially conscious way possible.
About Dole Food Company, Inc.
Dole, with 2011 net revenues of $7.2 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.
or Amanda Sheaffer