Trader Joe’s just increased the price of a banana for the first time in more than 20 years

New York (CNN) — Food prices have gone a bit bananas — and that includes a famously priced 19-cent fruit at Trader Joe’s.

The snack-heavy grocer told CNN on Monday that it recently increased the price of the banana to 23 cents, a more than 20% increase.

“We only change our prices when our costs change, and after holding our price for Bananas at 19¢ each for more than two decades, we’ve now reached a point where this change is necessary,” a Trader Joe’s spokesperson said to CNN.

Stores have carved out loyal fanbases and distinguished themselves from competition by sticking to low-cost deals that become synonymous to the brand (think Costco’s $1.50 hot dog). Though overall food inflation hasn’t been rising as fast as it has been, Americans are still seeing the effects in the grocery store.

The 19-cent banana is a well-known deal at Trader Joe’s — so much so that it’s ranked as the favorite piece of produce by the company’s customers.

Bananas have managed to remain affordable for most Americans. Demand in recent years for bananas in the US has been driven primarily by the fruit’s affordability, according to a 2023 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The report also noted that prices at the retail level remained mostly unchanged in 2023. That’s because of fierce grocery store competition and bananas’ role as a loss leader, or an item that is purposefully priced lower to attract customers and encourage them to buy more expensive products.

The average price of bananas in the US has remained steady from February 2023 to February 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at 62 to 64 cents a pound throughout the year.

However, CBS News reported that experts from the World Banana Forum in March warned that climate change and rising temperatures can drive up banana prices.

Trader Joe’s noted it has been able to lower prices for some of its other produce, such as raw almonds, romaine hearts, organic tri-color bell peppers, and green onions.

In the first episode of the “Inside Trader Joe’s” podcast, former CEO Dan Bane said when the stores used to sell them by the pound, he asked an older customer why she didn’t take a bag of bananas after browsing through them.

“She says to me, ‘Sonny… I may not live to that fourth banana.’ And so we decided the next day we were going to sell individual bananas. And they’ve been 19 cents ever since,” Bane said.

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