Making dragonfruit mainstream for U.S. consumers

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Making dragonfruit mainstream for U.S. consumers

Oregon-based Dragonberry Produce aims to lift dragonfruit from its niche status in the U.S. to become more widely consumed, through improved import practices that make the product more competitive. Dragonfruit shipment - Dragonberry Produce Inc - small

Sales executive Amy Nguyen told her company would import 50 containers of dragonfruit from Vietnam in the 2013 fiscal year, but the company's goal was to double this figure in the future.

"Our goal is to make dragonfruit available to every consumer as an everyday fruit. Currently, the U.S.A. is very receptive of dragonfruit - it's still considered exotic and for a niche market," she said.

"The prices are becoming more reasonable at the retail level compared to the past year."

She said Dragonberry first saw the fruit's potential during a trade mission visit to Vietnam with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2011. Since then, partnerships with logistics companies and distributors have been key for bringing down costs and keeping the dragonfruit fresh on store shelves.

"We import directly from Vietnam to Long Beach, California and Seattle, Washington. Using these two ports, we are able to cut down on transportation costs for our customer and deliver the products fresher to them on the West Coast.

" Vietnam dragonfruit has a lot of volume potential."

She added there were no quarantine issues with importing the fruit as shipments were inspected by USDA officers in Vietnam.

" Dragonfruit is grown from central to southern Vietnam year-round. We handle mostly white flesh dragonfruit, and red flesh dragonfruit is only air freighted in.

"It is a unique fruit, and import acceptance in other countries has shown that the fruit is becoming popular. Competition is making the product more accepted at the retail level and it is used more often at the food service level."

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