According to a buyer from a major Swedish retailer, demand for papaya is almost non-existent in Sweden. He said that the company had tried to sell papaya several years back, but it just didn't take off with consumers. Instead, the focus has been more on other tropical fruits such as mangoes, sharonfruit, kaki and pineapples.
"I think that the papaya wasn't very popular because it has a very unique flavour and is an acquired taste. It doesn't tend to be a fruit that people automatically love and I think that consumers might also be disappointed when they remember eating them abroad and then try the imported papaya, where the taste has been affected by the cold chain and are varieties which have been chosen for their longer shelf life." shared the buyer.
"There are no plans to increase volumes on the horizon. As a retailer, we would need to create demand, but this would cost a lot of money and it doesn't really seem worthwhile from a business perspective. In addition, the competition from mangoes and other more established exotics would be a big challenge."
The retailer sources papaya from Brazil all year around. The tropical fruit used to be readily available, but El Nino 2015 had a big impact on supplies.
Average papaya prices in Sweden range between 3 to 4 euros per fruit, depending on the season.
Papaya is most often used as part of a fruit plate, mixed with other exotic fruits and mixed perishables like ham, cheese, drumsticks etc. Demand is at its highest at the beginning of summer when school finishes.