Jackfruit is gaining popularity nationwide as it is becoming more familiar to mainstream shoppers, especially on the East Coast, according to California-based Frieda’s Specialty Produce.
“Who knew you could sell so much jackfruit in upstate New York?” said Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager at Frieda’s Specialty Produce.
“What we have now is the perfect storm of demand from the growing Asian population, from vegetarians and vegans seeking a meat substitute, and from shoppers who now have heard enough information to give this big fruit a try. Retailers realize they can capitalize on such demand, and start to stock jackfruit.”
New York-based Tops Friendly Markets is one of many retailers answering the demand. Frieda’s said the retailers’ produce managers are trained on the secrets of selling the fruit, with one Tops location selling 100 cases of the tropical giants per week.
“Shoppers have been asking for fresh jackfruit for quite some time, and once we started to stock them, they were flying off the shelf,” said Scott Tyo, category business manager for Tops.
“Our overall sales have gone up with jackfruit as the main draw in the produce department. Curious shoppers are also drawn to the fragrant, giant fruits on display, and with Frieda’s label and signage, they have enough information to take the fruit home to try.”
Berkley added that summer is the perfect time to promote jackfruit for backyard barbecues, luaus, and tiki parties.
“Shoppers have heard about jackfruit ‘pulled pork’ sandwiches and tacos, so you can merchandise with barbecue sauce and salsa, or make it the center of your tropical fruit display,” she said.