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Dragon fruit and young coconuts

Vietnamese fruit varieties have become mainstream in Canada

After 10 years of negotiations, the US market has opened up to certain fruit varieties from Vietnam, including star apples, mangoes, dragon fruit, longan and lychees. Canadian Canadawide however has been importing from Vietnam for about 15 years and has noticed a significant increase in imported volume over the past ten years. “Consumption of Vietnamese fruits has really taken off in Canada,” says Chris Sarantis with Canadawide. “Initially, they were mainly consumed by the Asian population, but today, all ethnicities buy exotic items from Vietnam. Retailers like Metro, Loblaws and IGA are promoting the items in their flyers, which tells me they are becoming more mainstream.” 

From pallet to container
“When we started importing dragon fruit from Vietnam about ten years ago, we would buy it by the pallet from a secondary supplier,” mentioned Sarantis. “Today, we bring the fruit in by container and purchase it directly from the shipper in Vietnam.”

In terms of volume, dragon fruit is the largest item that Canadawide imports from Vietnam. “It is available year-round and the fruit variety has the most consistent volume distribution out of all items imported from Vietnam.”

Canadawide receives dragon fruit from Vietnam in 9-kg boxes

Increased popularity of young coconuts 
In addition to dragon fruit, young coconuts are another item that’s brought in from the Asian country. “They are cut up in a diamond shape and ready-to-drink,” said Sarantis. Although volumes are not as significant as for dragon fruit, coconuts are nowadays mixed in with container arrivals as well. In the past few years, Sarantis has noticed an increase in demand due to the positive press for coconut juice.

To secure year-round supplies, Canadawide works with various suppliers in Vietnam who all handle dragon fruit as well as coconuts. In addition, the company imports some seasonal items from the country, including lychees and longans. The majority of Canadawide’s products are sold in the Eastern part of the country, primarily in Quebec.

Mesh bags with longan

The team of Canadawide will be attending CPMA in Vancouver next week. 

For more information:
Chris Sarantis
Tel: (514) 382-3232

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