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FYFFES PLC
Type Public (ISEQ: FFY
Headquarters 29 North Anne Street, Dublin 7, Ireland
Key people D.V. McCann
Chairman
Industry Produce
Products Fruit
Bananas
Pineapples
Melons
Employees 5,062 (2010) [1]
Website http://www.fyffes.com

FYFFES PLC (ISEQ: FFY, is a fruit and fresh produce company headquartered at North Anne Street, Dublin 7, Ireland. Fyffes is the oldest fruit brand in the world which is most closely associated with the banana[2]. However, the brand is actually applied to a wide range of fruits, most notably the Fyffes Gold Pineapples and Fyffes melons.

The Group is primarily involved in the production, procurement, shipping, ripening, distribution and marketing of bananas, pineapples and melons.

The Group currently markets fruit in Europe and the United States primarily under the Fyffes and Turbana brands.

Contents

History

In the 1870s Thomas Fyffe, a London food wholesaler, went into partnership with a fruit dealer named Hudson who had connections in the Canary Islands. In 1878 they shipped their first cargo of bananas to England. Within five years the business had become so successful that they purchased land in the Canaries to be cultivated as banana plantations. Meanwhile, Elder Dempster & Company (a large shipping firm which traded in the Canaries) had observed the success of Fyffe & Hudson and followed suit. In 1898 Elder Dempster’s fruit importing business was extended to Jamaica, which was then the second oldest of Britain’s overseas colonies. To protect the island’s economy the British Government agreed to pay a subsidy of £40,000 a year to Elder Dempster to run a regular steamer service to Jamaica and bring large quantities of bananas to the British market. In May 1901 the firms merged and Elders & Fyffes Ltd was established in London. The following year 45% of the capital was purchased by the United Fruit Company of America. Thereafter, the business went from strength to strength using specially constructed ships that ensured the fruit arrived in good condition after the long Atlantic crossing.

In 1960 At Bembridge Airport, Isle of Wight, Britten-Norman Ltd began trials of their new Cushioncraft— their name for an air-cushion vehicle built for Elders and Fyffes. It was used to study the potential of this type of vehicle for the carriage of bananas from plantations in the Southern Cameroons. In May 1969, the company was renamed Fyffes Group Ltd, recognising the diversity and importance of the then (x-number) subsidiary companies. It became an Irish company following takeover by the Irish group FII plc in 1986 - FII having been originally established as Fruit Importers of Ireland Limited in 1968. The combined company was initially known as FII Fyffes plc, but became simply Fyffes plc in 1990.

In 2002 Fyffes took legal action against DCC plc in relation to the sale of its stake in the company, though DCC was eventually cleared of insider trading.

On May 15 2006, the company spun off its property portfolio to a separate company, Blackrock International Land plc, though it would retain a 40% share. In September 2006 Irish newspapers reported that it was considering spinning off its fresh produce business, leaving Fyffes as purely a banana importer. On 2 January 2007 this occurred, with Total Produce plc listing on the ISE's Irish Enterprise Exchange and the LSE's Alternative Investment Market. Fyffes itself, now a pure fruit company, will move from the Official Lists of the ISE and LSE to the IEX and AIM on 10 January 2007.

The Brand

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Fyffes is the oldest fruit brand in the world dating back to 1929[3]. Fyffes endurance over 120 years is due to the quality of the fruit to which the Fyffes label is attached and the service levels behind it. While it is of course most closely associated with the banana, it is also applied to the other produce including Fyffes Gold Pineapples and the winter season melons.

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Advertising

Fyffes have used press advertising only in recent years and have caused quite a stir with their tongue in cheek humour.

Fyffes were involved in an exciting rescue that took place 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland at Foynes Port in Co. Limerick. In August 2004 4 sailors who were attempting a transatlantic world rowing record were picked up in the stormy waters after their boat was destroyed by huge waves. The Fyffes banana boat was on route from Costa Rica with ¼ million cartons of bananas and was completing the 12 day voyage when they were alerted to the men’s plight. The advert ran in 2 main national newspapers in Ireland the following day[4].

In 2006 the GAA, Ireland’s world famous sporting body was issuing much sought after tickets for a County Galway and County Cork Hurling Final being played at Croke Park in Dublin. An error in administration meant that some tickets fell by the way side and were not distributed across the country as they should have had. This caused quite some embarrassment in the GAA camp, however, Fyffes took the opportunity to use the harmless slip up as an example of “Guess who didn’t have their Fyffes today” and ran with the above advert in the national papers the following day[5].

Products

Fyffes Bananas

Bananas

As one of the largest Tropical produce importers and distributors in Europe, Fyffes offer a full range of bananas, from loose to prepack. The bananas are sourced in the Tropics from countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala and Colombia.

Growing practices have developed over the years to keep pace with the growth in demand in both volume and quantity. The fruit is cut whilst still green, depending on physiological age depending on market destinations and shipped in special refrigerated vessels which employ the latest temperature control systems to keep the bananas fresh and reduce the ripening rate to a minimum. Upon arrival at journey’s end, the bananas are ripened in special ripening centres, ready for sale in supermarkets and grocery shops.

The invention of steam ships, and a little later, of refrigeration, allowed marketable volumes of bananas to survive the long voyage to Northern Europe. Fyffes carried the first refrigerated commercial shipment of bananas to Britain in 1901 in a purpose built ship called the SS Port Morant.

Pineapples

Fyffes Gold Pineapples

Fyffes plc also offers the Fyffes Gold Pineapple, this delicious Supersweet variety is sourced from the Central and South Americas in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and Guatemala.

Pineapple growing is complex and difficult. Pineapples are grown by vegetative propagation which means they are grown by replanting a part of themselves. There are four common parts to a pineapple:

1. The slips; located on the stem below the fruit
2. The suckers; located at the start of the leaves
3. The crowns; located on top of the pineapple
4. The ratoons; located on the roots

Supersweet pineapples are widely grown in the Central and South Americas. Fyffes Gold pineapples are produced in the best pineapple producing regions countries such as Costa Rica Ecuador, Panama and Guatemala. They are cultivated using the latest methods and the fruit is handled very carefully to maintain its freshness and taste along the distribution chain. Fruit is picked in the field by hand – it’s a very prickly crop and the skilled harvesters wear protective clothing – and each fruit travels by conveyers stretching out across the rows to a trailer. Trailers --- this cargo into washing baths from where the frit is selected by size and also criteria.

Melons

Fyffes Winter Melons

The third and final product within the Tropical portfolio is Fyffes melons. The range covers all well known melon types such as Galia, Cantaloup, Charentais, Watermelon, Piel de Sapo and Yellow Honeydew. The melons are sourced from Brazil and Costa Rica[6].

All melons are Cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae). The cucurbit family includes species such as the gourd, watermelons, cantaloupes, squash, and pumpkins. Melons grow from seed in hot dry climates. On a trailing vine and optimum temperatures ensure a necessary balance between fruit growth and vine growth. Bright sunny days favour sugar accumulation in the melon.

Melons prefer well-drained soils. Heavier soils are preferred because of their greater water-retention capacity, which slows the onset of vine collapse in very hot days. Depending on the climate the melon crop can take c. 6 to 7 months to grow from seed planting to find harvest.

When harvesting, melons are cut from the vine instead of pulled. Pulling can create a cracking wound that pathogens can enter and quickly destroy the quality of the fruit. The fruit is packed in cardboard cartons and then stored best between 7°C and 10°C. At lower temperatures, surface breakdown and decay will set in and will result in poor flavour and a softening of the fruit. High humidity is important at this stage to prevent water loss.

Facts

Ripening Room Coventry

The Fyffes Group ripening facility in Coventry is the largest in Europe. This means that the facility is able to accommodate 117,000 boxes (or over 2,100 tonnes) of bananas at any one time[7].

The company formerly operated its own fleet of ships, known as Fyffes Line.

Fyffes now (2007) handles the entire banana export produce of Belize.

See also

References

Beaver, Patrick (1976). Yes! We have some: The story of Fyffes. Publications for Companies. ISBN 9780904928020.

External links


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