We’ve been watching jackfruit sales a lot over the past few years here at The Packer and Produce Retailer. It seemed like last year, talk of jackfruit as the next meat replacement was in every other article.
And, like any popular trend, it’s inevitable that the star’s shine will fade, and something new will capture our eye.
So, what happened to jackfruit? Is it still selling well?
I took a look at Google Trends for jackfruit and while there was a pretty defined peak back in January – likely due to New Year’s healthy eating promises – frequency of search is inching back up.
That aligns with what Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Specialty Produce and Los Angeles-based Melissa’s World Variety Produce are seeing, too.
Alex Jackson Berkley, assistant sales manager for Frieda’s says fresh jackfruit is nowhere near its peak.
“The first wave of popularity came from Asian shoppers who knew the fruit,” she says. “The second wave came from vegans and vegetarians who love the texture, which can be used as a meat substitute.”
Now, we’re entering the third wave, she says.
“The third wave of popularity is coming from retailers who realize there is demand for jackfruit everywhere,” she says. “We have a regional, non-Asian retailer who is selling 100 cases of jackfruit in a single store in a week.”
Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Melissa’s, says they’re extremely popular, even moreso than previous years.
“We have seen, on average, a 30% growth continue from the last 365 days,” he says.
And, he also touched on one of the biggest issues new consumers have with the King of Fruits – accessibility.
“We are yet to see it peak as we will see more innovation to make this fruit easier,” he says.
It’s not easy for a new consumer to carve into a jackfruit.
It’s also expensive to try it. Jackfruit typically weighs 10-15lbs, and costs anywhere from 79 cents a pound to 2.99 a pound (I saw that price point at Whole Foods in Florida). That’s a pretty big investment for a newcomer, and so far, most fresh-cut versions have an issue with browning.
There’s more to come from jackfruit, though. Stay tuned.