UK Markets open in 5 hrs 52 mins

Going Bananas: Fruit Price Hike Warning

(c) Sky News 2012

Prices for bananas are set to skyrocket, the world's oldest fruit firm has warned.

Tropical fruit supplier Fyffes (Irish: FQ3.IR - news) said pineapples would also be affected as it grapples with rising costs.

The Dublin-based company blamed the relative strength of the US dollar, higher fruit costs and a further 20% hike in fuel prices for the "necessary" increases in selling prices in its key markets.

The warning came as Fyffes announced a 30% jump in profits to 22.4m euro (£17.7m) in the six months to June 30, driven by higher sales volumes of pineapples and bananas.

And with trading conditions in its key continental Europe (Chicago Options: ^REURUSD - news) markets holding firm, it has increased its target for full-year earnings by at least 3m euro (£2.4m).

Half-year revenues rose by a fifth to 550.1m euro (£436m).

Fyffes said: "The group continues to pursue necessary increases in selling prices in all markets to offset the impact of adverse exchange rate movements and the higher cost of fuel and fruit."

The historic firm began trading in the 1880s when the first commercial delivery of bananas from the Canary Islands arrived in London for E.W. Fyffe Son & Co.

It landed its first commercial consignment of bananas from Jamaica, aboard the SS Port Morant, in 1901.

The ship was the first of a fleet of dedicated banana boats, fitted with special cooling equipment for the prized produce.

The world's oldest fruit brand later came into being, in 1929, with the famous blue label.

Its (Euronext: ALITS.NX - news) bananas are sourced in the tropics from countries including Costa Rica, Guatemala and Colombia.