Cabello building jackfruit demand
A pre-packaged jackfruit will be on U.S. retail shelves by 2024. Cabefruit Produce LLC, based in McAllen, TX, will roll out the new precut product.
Norma Mesias, marketing coordinator for the company, notes there is certainly a need for this new jackfruit iteration. “We are aware that the jackfruit can be a very intimidating fruit, with its rough exterior and unorthodox shape. We are working on selling just the fruit of the jackfruit to save our customers the time and effort of cutting the fruit open. We want to make sure this fruit is getting out there whether you are familiar with it or not, so everyone can enjoy its health benefits as well as its unique flavor without the inconvenience.”
Cabefruit Produce, which is widely known as simply Cabello, which is the company’s brand, was recently “named one of the biggest producers of jackfruit worldwide according to academic research. Nobody has more jackfruit than we do.” Mesias tells FreshFruitPortal.com that Cabello’s jackfruit only is produced in southern Mexico’s states of Chiapas and Nayarit. “Nayarit is our biggest growing area for jackfruit, and our most acclaimed.”
Only a quarter of Cabello’s jackfruit is exported, so a great deal more fruit is available for export as sales build. “We are hoping having the fruit processed for our customers will increase demand. We will most definitely be able to meet it. We meet a big share of the demand for jackfruit in the country with very few competitors at our level. In fact, our volume is so great if demand were to increase exponentially, we would be able to cover it.”
Mesias suggests market development has been slow “because of size being too big for transport, or lack of demand from the U.S. markets. Jackfruit is still an unusual product. We definitely are making efforts to educate the public. That is why we include instructions to cut open in our new labels” which are tags banded to the fruit.
Currently, “Our customers for jackfruit are mainly in Asian and Latin stores. Asian markets demand a lot more jackfruit than the Latinos, but both carry it.” Other U.S. customers are vegan markets. She notes that fruit enthusiasts make up a large part of Cabello’s jackfruit consumers. Chicago has become the largest single market for Cabello jackfruit. But generally, the largest sales volume is throughout the East Coast, including Maryland, New York, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia. Texas is another key sales region. “We are excited to see the growth for both the fruit and ourselves as it starts to become a household name.”
Jackfruit recipes are increasingly presented online for plant-based foods, smoothies and even cocktails.
Cabello imports jackfruit year-round into McAllen, with the peak season running from April to July, with May being the height of volume. “Cold months are not so great for production, but the trees do bear fruit year-round regardless.”
In mid-September, Cabello was importing two truckloads of jackfruit per week. Each truck carries 40 pallets bearing 1,920 boxes. Depending on fruit size, one, two, and up to three pieces of jackfruit are packed in a box.