Can jackfruit survive without fresh-cut?

The single greatest argument for value-added, prepared produce?

Jackfruit.

Consumers have been wild for it for the past couple of years, but I’ve been convinced it’s on the way out. Suppliers keep assuring me it’s still selling well – for them.

But for retailers? How can there be that many curious people out there? Who comes back to buy a SECOND jackfruit after lugging home these things, not to mention the sticky mess it is to dig out the negligible amount of edible food in there?

Just look at this monster. It’s 28 lbs. It cost $35. My friends and I would have to take up a collection to buy this thing. Suppliers are looking for ways to harvest sooner and bring a sized-down version to market, but even then it’s still one of the biggest ticket items in a produce department.

And, yes, while I know most retailers are selling a cut version, it takes a true jackfruit fanatic to want to buy it. Most of the time, jackfruit just doesn’t look pretty on the shelf. It browns quickly and doesn’t have a ton of edible flesh.

The exception I’ve seen is this masterpiece by Hy-Vee, West Des Moines, IA. Just look what they did with a cara cara orange slice here. It’s gorgeous.

Nevertheless, I expected jackfruit to be on the outs with most consumers. The shine has faded.

Or has it?

Instead of a sustained steep decline, the Google Trend line in the Food & Drink category for jackfruit just keeps bouncing back.

This shows peak search interest in January 2018, but if you take a look at that second spike, you’ll see it happened in May 2019. Click the chart to see the full Google Trends report.

And here’s the gamechanger.

Los Angeles, CA-based Melissa’s World Variety Produce BB #:111686 finally…finally…found a way to do a value-added jackfruit pod.

I saw a frozen version last summer at United Fresh, but now there’s a fresh option. The company showed samples at United Fresh in Chicago and expects to roll it out this summer. The machine process and 14-day shelf life could take the sticky mess out of the equation and send that jackfruit trend line soaring.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.