The popularity of jackfruit is exploding as the fruit variety catches the attention of trendsetters and adventurous consumers looking for an exotic and unique fruit item. “It is a new item for us as we just started shipping jackfruit a few months ago,” says Cindy Swanberg Schwing with London Fruit. Jackfruit complements nicely with our mango program that has the same time frame of availability, from February to September.
London Fruit sources jackfruit in the province Nayarit in Mexico. “The season has just started, and supplies are increasing,” commented Schwing. “Volumes will be really strong by mid-April.”
Cindy Swanberg Schwing proudly showing jackfruit
Pre-cut drives sales
Jackfruit is no doubt a big fruit variety. Generally, at retail the weight ranges from 10 to 100 lbs. “Its size sometimes works against it,” says Dick Spezzano of Spezzano Consulting. “It can make it more challenging to cut and prepare the fruit."
“Ideally, it would be sold pre-cut as that would encourage more consumers to buy it,” said Schwing. “Fresh-cut is hard to deal with,” commented Spezzano. Therefore, most retailers sell it as a whole piece of fruit. The many Asian markets that carry jackfruit often sell it pre-cut and it is a very popular item for them. The owner of an ethnic supermarket shared with Spezzano that he sells a load of jackfruit per week when he puts it on special. Jackfruit is a natural fruit for Asian shoppers as the fruit variety originates Thailand and Vietnam. However, it is certainly not limited to the Asian consumer as today, many different ethnicities are buying jackfruit. “It’s a fruit that doesn’t originally come from Mexico and we don’t see it in the Middle East, but all these ethnicities have figured it out,” shared Spezzano.
Jackfruit sold pre-cut at Hong Kong Supermarket in Austin, TX
“Jackfruit is the hottest thing to come down the road in a couple of years. From a minor item, it will turn into a major item,” he added. “Consumption is driven by foodies who watch the Food Network and want to try something new. In addition, it hits a sweet spot as a meat substitute. However, consumer education is very important. Right now, retailers don’t tell consumers much about the fruit and how to prepare it.”