A German-owned supermarket chain has embarrassed itself by attempting to sell bananas that have been peeled and repackaged in plastic and styrofoam.

Peeled Bananas Offered By Common Sense Supermarket

So how does a supermarket chain that calls itself a “common sense” store decide that the colourful and bio-degradable packaging (ie. the peel) that bananas naturally have isn’t good enough? Billa is calling it a “one off” mistake and probably won’t share much. It might be that Billa staff really believed that they were going to make things better.

My guess is that it took a couple of factors. The first is the desire to be innovative. Not a bad thing, so coming up with new ideas isn’t a mistake. The next factor would be focusing in on what makes the solution unique or useful. In this case, perhaps there was an emphasis on the “convenience” of having someone else peel the bananas. Maybe a focus group said how much they liked that you could see the inside of the banana. (To see if had any spoiled parts.) Another factor could be that they already had similar products. For example, there are peeled shrimp and sometimes fruits and vegetables are sold in those kind of plastic containers.

A final factor may have been that once a project like this has developed some momentum — and it was being promoted as innovative, convenient and something that they could do — it was hard to derail it. What was needed? I think someone like the child in Hans Christian Anderson’s story, “The Emporer’s New Clothes”. (A great story that even after 175 years is still very relevant.)