SOURCE: Dole Fresh Fruit

Dole Fresh Fruit

June 22, 2010 08:00 ET

Dole Names Kansas City, Mo., a "Top Banana" Market

Go Bananas After Dark™ Tour Partners With Kansas City's "BBQ Queens" to Challenge Notion of America's Favorite Fruit as a Daytime-Only Food

Bananas on the Barbie: Intriguing New Grilled Banana Recipes Are the Perfect Addition to Summertime Grilling Parties

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - June 22, 2010) -  Kansas Citians are passionate about their bananas -- so much so that the world's largest banana provider has named the Missouri city as a "Top Banana Market" and included it in a summer-long tour designed to encourage new uses for America's favorite fruit.

In addition to stopping in Kansas City in July, the Dole Go Bananas After Dark Tour™ has partnered with Kansas City native daughters Judith Fertig and Karen Adler, the "BBQ Queens" as part of a summer-long initiative to challenge the notion of America's favorite fruit as a breakfast and lunch food only. Conceived by Dole Fresh Fruit Company, a subsidiary of Dole Food Company, Inc., the first-ever program offers banana lovers in Missouri and throughout the country fun, intriguing new ways to enjoy the iconic fruit for dinner, dessert and as a unique addition to their summer backyard or beach BBQ parties.

"Most Missourians 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 96 percent of American homes. Yet, even some of the most ardent banana fans aren't aware of the amazing things you can do with bananas on the grill and as a healthier dessert indulgence."

As a "Top Banana Market," Kansas City has been singled out by Dole for significant local advertising, online, PR and retailer activities to encourage the city'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 local retailers on a number of local in-store programs.

A key component of the summertime initiative is the development and distribution of delicious new DOLE Banana recipes and serving ideas for dinner, dessert and summer grilling. The new Go Bananas After Dark recipe library -- ranging from Grilled Banana S'mores and Island Kabobs with Tropical Fruit Salsa to Teriyaki Pork Chops with Grilled Bananas and Brennan's New Orleans Original Bananas Foster -- will be available on new DOLE Bananas-dedicated web and Facebook pages. 

According to Bright, included in the recipe library are several like the ten-minute Grilled Bananas and Grilled Banana Boats that leverage the banana's reputation as a guilt-free food, containing no fat, cholesterol or sodium -- and offer a multitude of dessert options. Banana lovers can go the healthier route by topping their grilled bananas with fresh fruit, nuts and frozen yogurt or go for a more decadent creation with chocolate chips, marshmallows, ice cream and caramel. "Bananas are one of the few genuine summertime treats that provide considerable health benefits," he said. "In addition to qualifying as an excellent source of vitamins B6 and C and a good source of potassium and dietary fiber, they can provide the natural sweetness for some surprisingly indulgent desserts."

Dole has partnered with Brennan's New Orleans, the venerable French Quarter restaurant famous for the invention of the Bananas Foster. Brennan's Executive Chef Lazone Randolph will work with Fertig and Adler to demonstrate new dessert and grilled banana recipes. Another stop on the Go Bananas After Dark Tour is Des Moines, Iowa.

Dole will be going on the road between Memorial Day and Labor Day to take its Go Bananas After Dark message directly to banana consumers -- both on its own and in partnership with the 2010 Char-Broil® Infrared Grilling Tour. Sponsored by Char-Broil® (www.charbroil.com), a leading marketer of infrared grills and other outdoor cooking products, the tour gives Dole the chance to introduce grilled DOLE Bananas to BBQ enthusiasts in more than 20 cities and at major summer BBQ events including the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival in Cary, N.C., the DC BBQ Battle in Washington, D.C., and Nashville's Music City BBQ Festival.

Earlier this month, Char-Broil and DOLE Bananas participated in Kansas City's famous Great American BBQ Festival.

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. High-resolution photography of DOLE Bananas, recipes, serving suggestions 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 100 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. Each year, Dole spends millions of dollars growing and shipping bananas using the most advanced techniques available. 

About Dole Foods
Dole, with 2009 net revenues of $6.8 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. For more information, visit www.dole.com.