Australia boosting jackfruit sector with $1.3M project
Rising domestic demand led research and development corporation AgriFutures to identify the Australian jackfruit industry as a “priority for investment”, with a new project hoping to develop commercially viable processed products, Good Fruit & Vegetables reports.
Originally from South and Southeast Asia, jackfruit is well known for its size, ranging from four to 44 pounds, with some specimens weighing up to 88 pounds.
When unripe, its flesh is commonly used as a meat replacement in vegan and vegetarian dishes, while ripe jackfruit is usually found in desert preparations.
Its versatility has led to increased consumption in Australia, with AgriFutures developing the Australian Emerging Tropical Fruits Strategic RD&E plan to outline the need for research and support.
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AgriFutures emerging industries senior manager, Dr. Olivia Reynolds, says fresh and value-added jackfruit products can be differentiated from imports through superior genetics, quality and safety standards.
With this new funding, the University of Melbourne will explore phytochemical characterization, nutritional composition, sensory, storage stability and packaging requirements in the country’s northern territory.
Chelsea Moore, who leads the Northern Territory Government's Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade project in collaboration with the University of Melbourne, says that jackfruit byproducts offer multiple possibilities for consumers.
"The arils can be cooked when they are green for a savory flavor, the seeds can be roasted like nuts, and other parts can be processed into highly nutritious products," Moore says.
Similarly, University of Melbourne researcher Dr. Hafiz Suleria is convinced that the sector has great growth potential.
"The jackfruit products will be profiled for nutritional status, taste and consumer acceptance. Packaging will be developed considering shelf life, environmental sustainability and commercial viability," Suleria says.