What the red tip on bananas sold at Coles and Woolworths really means

Have you ever wondered why some bananas at your local Coles or Woolworths supermarket have a waxy red tip?

Red Tip bananas — those dipped in bright red food-grade wax — are a special type of banana in more ways than one.

Apart from their distinctive look, these bananas are grown using a specific farming method that keeps them free of pesticides and other harsh chemicals that can adversely impact the environment.

This revelation will come as a surprise to many Coles and Woolworths shoppers, as it turns out 85 per cent of Aussies are aware of Red Tip bananas, but only four per cent know the red tip indicates they were grown using the Ecoganic farming method.

Man holding bunch of fresh Red Tip bananas
Red Tip bananas are grown with the all-natural Ecoganic farming method. Photo courtesy of Perfection Fresh

What the red tip is all about

The red wax does not preserve the banana itself but serves as a distinctive marking that lets shoppers know that these are different from ordinary bananas.

"The Red Tip is used to show that our bananas are grown using the Ecoganic farming method," Australian grower Frank Sciacca revealed.

"We wanted to get people asking the question, what is the red tip all about? So we chose the red food grade wax instead of stickers because it is not only unique and stands out, it is also sustainable, which is what Ecoganic farming is all about."

These bananas can be found in Coles, Woolworths and other leading supermarkets around Australia and have also been available in some other countries since 2009.

Features of red tip bananas, sold at Coles and Woolworths
Red Tip bananas that you can find at your local Coles or Woolworths supermarket stand out for many reasons, not just the wax. Photo courtesy of Perfection Fresh

The story behind Ecoganic farming

It all started in 1998 with Frank and Dianne Sciacca, who decided to create a new way of farming with a view to "farm with nature" and produce bananas naturally.

"We developed this regenerative farming approach because we wanted to work with nature to repair the natural ecosystem," Mr Sciacca said.

"Unlike organic farming, the Ecoganic method does not use any fertilisers or pesticides — natural or chemical — and instead works with nature's creatures to grow bananas that taste as nature intended while having a positive impact on the environment, by helping to repair the damage done by conventional farming methods," he told Yahoo News Australia.

Traditional farming uses chemicals to sterilise the soil and kill insects, which leaves crops dependent on synthetic fertilisers as its source of nutrition. These practices can negatively impact soil, birds, larger wildlife and waterways.

The Ecoganic method strives to have zero impact on nearby waterways and as a testament, Red Tip bananas are the only ones endorsed by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

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