Gaga over Banana

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The latest weight-loss craze sweeping fad-loving Japan has made Japanese women go bananas over Philippine bananas.

The Philippine government is cashing in on the popularity of bananas as it is seeing record-high consumption of the fruit in Japan, where supermarkets have been reporting banana shortages lately, the Tourism department said recently. No country comes close to the Philippines when it comes to bananas. Thanks to the Morning Banana Diet, the Department of Tourism has disclosed that the Philippines is now the top exporter of bananas to Japan, providing 862,000 tons or 91.4 percent of the banana needs of the world's second biggest economy.

In 2007, the Philippines' banana exports to Japan were valued at around $400 million, the DOT said. Other Asian countries such as Malaysia and Taiwan also export bananas to Japan but in small quantities. DOT Team Japan Head Benito Bengzon Jr. said Philippine bananas were considered the best and commanded a higher price. 'The Philippine banana is very popular here in Japan despite its high cost,' Bengzon said. Another Tourism official said Japanese women who want to lose weight associate quality bananas with the Philippines.

Tourism Undersecretary Eduardo Jarque Jr. said they were told that Japanese consumers ask for 'Philippine bananas' when they buy the fruit. 'It's really a big thing there. It's a diet craze. We went there last November and we saw a lot of women peeling and eating bananas even in their cars,' Jarque told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview. 'They associate it with the Philippines. They equate it with the tropics. They ask for bananas from Philippines because it is the best. It has no blemishes and it's attractive,' he added. The diet, which was promoted in social networking sites and exploded last year, has become so popular, it has spawned books, testimonials from Japanese actors, and a television show. The diet craze was invented by a pharmacist for her overweight husband, media reports in Japan said.

Followers of the Morning Banana Diet can eat as many bananas as they want and room temperature water for breakfast. Under this diet regimen, they can eat anything they want for lunch and dinner, which has to be eaten by 8 p.m. They also have to go to bed before midnight. Jarque said he was optimistic that the Philippines will retain its powerful hold on the banana market in Japan even if the Morning Banana Diet has died down. Bananas, he noted, fit into the Japanese society's penchant for healthy living. 'They are believers of fruits and vegetables,' he said. 'It's a lifestyle.' Tourism officials also said they hope that the banana fad would encourage Japanese women to visit the Philippines. Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said they hope to lure young, health-conscious women to visit the Philippines, where there is an abundance of tropical fruits.

'The demand for Philippine produce remains high because of the quality. Part of the country's charm to visitors is its abundant supply of tropical fruits that are considered the best in the world,' the Tourism chief said. The promotion of our Philippine produce is part of the DOT's strategy to lure Japanese visitors to visit the Philippines. High quality but low-cost products are a come-on to the choosy Japanese market,' Durano added.

-source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
-Tips & info on the Morning Banana Diet, refer to this site.

4 Reaction(s) :: Gaga over Banana

  1. may ganun sa kanila..hahaha..

  2. balak ko nga subukan. banana lang sa umaga. nde kaya sumakit ang tiyan ko.

  3. parang gusto ko din subukan yan. hehehe.

  4. nde naman ako umaasang papayat pero hindi kaya sumakit naman ang tiyan ko nito?