It all starts in Ecuador, the largest exporting country of bananas in the world. Known for its excellent soil quality and tropical climate, Ecuador is ideal for growing bananas requiring far less pesticides and fertilizers compared to other producers in the world. The region of El Oro, is a prime location not only for conventional bananas but also organic ones. It’s in this region, in Pasaje, that we founded our production site in 1975. It has since become one of the world’s largest suppliers of banana powder, flakes, and puree. These products are found around the world in baby food, sweet and beverage markets.
Bananas in key figures
El Oro, #1 exporting region of organic bananas
Organic certified for EU, US and China
Our agronomists visit plantations every 2 weeks
Less than 60km between plantations and factory
of banana peels are composted into organic fertilizers
Working closely with small farmers for a full traceability and high quality bananas
The plantations are located close to our plants. Organic and conventional bananas are cultivated by our partnered farmers with the support of our agronomists, who advise them on topics like planting, fertilizing, and pest control. Together, they work to continuously develop the best agricultural practices with a strict control of contaminants while ensuring the full traceability of the fruits.
Gary Mendieta runs three small farms in the mountains. Up to 1,500 plants grow on each of the eight hectares. With his team they cut off the plants’ large excess leaves, keep the ground cleared, protect the seed heads of the three- or four-meter-high plants with plastic bags that let in light and air but keep out insects and birds. Each plant location has two to three harvests a year.
We are more than bananas, success starts with people
At Diana Food, we do so much more than creating high-quality products. And here in Ecuador, family is everything. So Diana Food treats its employees and neighbors like family. Our employees receive regular check-ups and medical care, free meals and transportation. We care about them, protect them with continuous occupational safety training programs and developed specific initiatives to further support the most vulnerable ones like deaf and disabled workers. Our involvement benefits the entire local community in Pasaje. We have been building relationships with various groups and associations from education, to social and health care.
A top quality from our farms to your R&D lab
After the harvest, the fruit is washed and sorted. The pieces that do not meet the standards for shape and size, or those with spots, are set aside. Once on site, bananas are put into airtight storage, where they continue to ripen until they have just the right amount of sweetness.
Each banana processed here in Pasaje passes through the hands of our employees. Bananas are mashed into a fine paste. This paste is filtered once more and heated until it becomes a puree, which isthen dehydrated and treated at high heat in roller-dryers.
We guarantee the highest quality of our products to offer our customers always the same product performance at every batch, with a strict control of contaminants, foreign bodies and regulatory compliance.
Head of Environmental and Occupational Safety
Achieving the highest occupational safety possible in our factory is one of our main goals. I spend the whole day, from Monday to Friday, going through the factory to see where there could be risks. That allows us to recognize and repair weaknesses immediately. We also train our employees, provide safety closing for them and make sure that it is worn. By doing so, we’ve ensured that there hasn’t been a single major accident in the past years.
President of Ecosfera, a regional environmental consulting firm
Since 2009, as a consulting company certified by the country of Ecuador, we have been working with Diana Food to make the entire production more sustainable. We started with a major study to measure noise emissions, for example, as well as the quality of the wastewater and air. Based on that, we advise the facility on how the company can better achieve its environmental goals. A company is awarded our environment seal if 50% of our standards are adhered to – Diana Food is at 90%, making it one of the top 10 companies in the region.
Giovanni Navas runs the “Divina Misericordia Albergue” a home for people living with disability
There is no public system in Ecuador that supports people with mental illness who are stranded. As a result, our shelter relies on donations. Symrise let its employees decide which project its donations should benefit. We received €6,000. We were able to buy a number of hospital beds and a new washing machine, which we could not have been able to afford otherwise.”
Sandra Estupinan works as a banana peeler
I’ve had the same job here for 14 years. I work four days a week for twelve hours each day. And even though it’s tough and sometimes a bit monotonous, I am really happy. Our group sticks together; some of us take turns being in charge. I’ve done that a number of times. And above all, working here is a secure job. We get paid on time and there are a lot of positive things, like the free meals in the cafeteria or the health care.
Talia Navarrete is a member of the local council of Pasaje
Diana Food makes an important contribution to our community at numerous levels. The company put the town and the region on the map for this industry – bananas are the most important source of income and a company like this helps us be strong economically. It also ensures that reliable work is available and is a stable partner, especially in times when our economy is being rocked by crisis. And finally, the company is involved in our schools and the infrastructure, which we, as a community, are very happy about.”
Neira Lapo Cesar Stalin is checking raw materials.
He is one of about 4% of the employees at Pasaje site who have a disability.
I have been deaf since birth, but I can read lips and communicate with my colleagues. We have a great team in which everyone looks out for one another. I enjoy my job because I am doing several talks, even working at a computer. This was a great opportunity for me, because it was very difficult for me, as someone with deafness, to find a job.