The next time you slice a banana for your cereal, consider the Banana Gap, Photo: iStock
Our usual breakfast includes a sliced banana over cold cereal. Because fresh bananas go bad after seven days, bananas are usually on a shopping list once a week. The cost of bananas is so low that doing everything possible to find the cheapest ones is not a priority. And so, we just have it on the list and wherever we go, if there’s a store that sells bananas, that’s where we get them.
This led to what I call the Banana Gap. The Banana Gap is the difference between what is billed at one location and what is billed at another for a banana. Since all bananas start on a tree in Central or South America and there is no elite banana that should of course cost more, the price differential charged is a reliable indicator of the gap between the rich and the poor. Here in the Hamptons, the Banana Gap has grown tremendously over the years. I don’t intend to name specific stores, but here is the essence of it in my hometown. And you know who you are.
Small local grocery store 25 ¢
Large supermarket 40 ¢
Small supermarket 50 ¢
Working class charcuterie 75 ¢
Gas station convenience store $ 1.00
7-Eleven $ 1.25
Farm stand $ 1.50
Rich neighborhood deli $ 1.75
Specialty market $ 1.85
Gourmet market $ 2.00
Organic market $ 2.50
The Banana Gap, calculated as the multiple between 25 ¢ and $ 2.50, is now 10. The last time I did a study on the Banana Gap was in 2009 when the factor was six.
So the gap in America is widening between the rich and the poor. Everything for the same banana.
And just think that if you bought your bananas at the small grocery store and stopped buying bananas at the fully organic market, you would save enough money to buy a beachfront estate in the Hamptons in just 26 million years.