U.S.: Melissa's Produce trials pre-cut jackfruit pack

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U.S.: Melissa's Produce trials pre-cut jackfruit pack

While jackfruit may be one of the hottest up-and-comer produce items right now, it can be quite unwieldy in its whole fruit form.

Or in the words of Melissa's Produce director of public relations Robert Schueller,"intimidating" might be a more appropriate term.

Melissa's Produce's prototype sliced jackfruit pack

Melissa's Produce's prototype sliced jackfruit pack

"It can get up to 100 pounds although retailers only want to carry the smaller ones or the immature ones," Schueller said during a media briefing prior to the opening of the exhibition floor at the Produce Marketing Association's (PMA) Fresh Summit in Orlando on Saturday.

"They usually start at five or six pounds, about half the size of this – this one is about 20 pounds," he said, pointing to the large fruit nestled amongst a wide range of exotic products the company was highlighting at the trade fair.

"You know produce items sell by the pound. When you sell by US$3 a pound or US$4 a pound it can be a very pricey thing."

In a bid to get over this hurdle, and make the most of the fact jackfruit is on trend for a combination of its complex tropical flavors, health attributes and has found its place on restaurant tables as a meat substitute, Melissa's has introduced a small pack of cut jackfruit pieces.

The slices were on display for PMA Fresh Summit visitors to try and proved popular.

"I love it, I eat it all the time, it’s fun, but it’s not fun to cut open," Schueller said.

"It’s very sticky. You have to wear gloves, you have to know how to cut. You’re cutting it and you’re knife gets stuck, that’s how sticky it is."

He said the fruit was available from Mexico 12 months of the year.


Mexican jackfruit and Australian mango testing at the Melissa's stand

During the presentation, Schueller also showed his excitement about the first arrival of Australian mangoes, which will start reaching the United States in commercial quantities this week.

"Even though mangoes are available in October, November, December, January, you have very few varieties. They’re just okay - the most common variety available to us is the Tommy Atkins ," he said.

"However, the Australian mangoes there's a delicious flavor and taste."

Right now Melissa's will be bringing in R2E2 and Kensington Pride mangoes from Down Under, while in January the Honey Gold will start and then Keitt.

"Yes it’s expensive, in the three [dollar] range, but you get a large mango, you get a small seed and you get the flavor that you want.

"The Ataulfos that you usually get by the case - they're really small, but you need three of those to get the meat you get in this."

Robert Schueller at the media presentation

Robert Schueller at the media presentation

Related stories: Could jackfruit prove a snack for all trades?

Could irradiation protocols give Aussie exports a competitive edge?


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