Renee Heath and Bechara Jaoudeh are good friends who have a common interest in gadgets. They enjoy going to invention trade shows to find what is new, unusual and clever. One day, the subject of bananas came up—as it will. Renee thought of her nieces and nephews and how much they love banana slices with peanut butter. Bechara reminisced about his childhood in Lebanon when his mother made him smashed bananas and Nutella wrapped in pita bread. He wanted to eliminate the bread and imagined a gadget that would core a banana and inject it with Nutella. He and Renee put their heads together and created the Banana Loca, a very clever banana corer and filler for making healthy, delicious snacks and desserts.
Bechara and Renee partnered with expert manufacturing consultants to determine the specs and materials. An award-winning industrial design firm assisted in the research and printed out dozens of 3D prototypes. When they finally had a perfect model, Bechara and Renee test-marketed it with parents, children and workout devotees. It was a great success all around!
How to Use the Banana Loca
- Cut off the tip of the banana about half an inch from the top.
- Put the banana into the holder, cut end first, and gently press it against the holder with one hand to straighten it.
- Insert the corer into the holder. Make sure to keep it straight. When fully inserted, twist the handle to break off the core, cover the hole with your thumb, and pull out the corer. You can look into the holder and see there’s a “tunnel” the length of the banana.
- Use the included plunger to push a “banana noodle” out of the corer.
- Fill the reservoir with 3 tablespoons (more or less) of the filling of your choice; for example, Nutella, peanut butter, jam, jelly, yogurt, caramel or honey. Press down the lever over the reservoir until you see the filling at the very tip of the nozzle.
- Insert the nozzle into the cored banana, holding it lightly with one hand. Push down gently on the lever with the other hand. Slowly guide the banana off of the nozzle as it fills. (You’ll feel it filling.)
Now you have a perfect snack, nice and neat, still in its peel, ready to go if you want to take it with you. Or peel it and enjoy it right away!
Banana Loca Founders
Renee and Bechara are both multitalented and have an impressive background in business and food products.
Renee studied International Journalism at the University of Leeds in the UK, Social Media Marketing at Rutgers, and Mastering Design Thinking at MIT.
- She has acted as Digital and Social Media Manager at Applegate, a company committed to providing natural and organic meat products that are free of chemicals and hormones and for which the animals are treated with care and respect.
- She was Head of Digital at B&G Foods whose portfolio of brands include Green Giant, McCann’s Imported Irish Oatmeal, and Skinny Girl.
- All told, Renee has digitally launched more than 50 food products.
Bechara studied Computer Science at Northampton Community College and Business Management & Entrepreneurship at Temple University, both in Pennsylvania. He is co-founder of Philly Marketing Labs where he and his team are in demand for knowing “what really works” in digital marketing for their clients.
- He founded Bagel Spice and became a “Master Spiceologist” for his creation of a savory condiment designed for bagels.
- He is a partner in Summit Innovations, a distributor of hydrocarbons to the legal cannabis industry.
- His first venture was Big Daddy’s Pizzeria, which he owned and managed.
Banana Loca Desserts
You do not need to stick with only one filler. You can combine ingredients for really delectable desserts. Here we have some suggestions to get you started, but the fun is in creating your own gourmet filler.
- Dulce de leche with canned peach juice and tapioca pudding
- Chocolate pudding with vanilla extract, orange zest and an optional splash of rum
- Canned pure pumpkin with Fluff marshmallow spread and nutmeg
- Strawberry yogurt with chia seeds and coconut flakes
- Almond butter with sweet chocolate squares, pretzels and optional Bailey’s
Banana Loca Celebrates National Banana Day
Bechara and Renee sponsored a banana-themed event at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and donated a year’s worth of bananas (more than 1,000 pounds) to the resident gorilla family and other banana-eating animals.