Scotland Food & Drink
With plans afoot to improve the supply chain of this healthy food, can Scotland tap into the potential of this planet saving, pulled-pork tasting, national fruit of Bangladesh?
Jackfruit is the world’s largest tree-borne fruit. It’s grown all year round, is resistant to pests, foregos the need for fertilisers, and for many is a tasty alternative to meat. So it's a bit of a star then?
Many think so, and its band of supporters is growing, impressed with its versatility and hardiness, and its nutritional properties. For some it’s a miracle crop, a viable substitute for wheat, corn and other staple crops, all of which could be under threat due to climate change.
For others it’s an answer to health and happiness, rich in vitamin and minerals and said to improve cardiovascular and digestive systems. An all round good fruit then? What’s not to champion say the jackfruit fanclub.
At the moment an estimated 75% of jackfruits grown in India are going to waste. So with all that the jackfruit has to offer, companies are stepping in and working with producers to help stop the rot, and help this fruit widen its road to market.
The Jackfruit Company, founded by Annie Ryu in 2011, works with 350 contracted farmers in India, and sells organic and shelf-stable jackfruit products in retail stores in the US. Annie and her team are currently looking into new product innovations with the aim to expand into the global market.
Project Jackfruit is a crowdfunded UK company set up to cut jackfruit waste and make the fruit accessible to the vegan UK market through its growing array of Jackfruit products.
Another company onboard the jackfruit juggernaut is Jackfruit365, who produce freeze dried jackfruit. It believes the fruit can help with illnesses such as diabetes, and that this health benefit will continue to see jackfruit sales growth.
A fruit in meat’s clothing
Jackfruit is being produced for market in many ways: in tins, in brine or syrup, as flour, as well as meat alternatives in flavoured, ready to cook products.
As more people turn towards plant-based foods as concerns for their health and the health of the planet increase, meat alternatives are going to find more space on retailer shelves.
Like tofu, quorn, seitan, and tempeh, Jackfruit is a meat alternative that consumers are looking to, and one that for many already has the flavour of one meat in particular.
For this fruity little performer tastes like pulled pork some say, so for those consumers on the lookout for more ways to introduce meat alternatives to their diet, jackfruit could be the product that keeps on performing.
In a recent interview in the Independent, Aubry Walch, of The Herbivorous Butcher in Minnesota, said she hoped that the meat-like products her vegetarian butcher shop served would "fool people into saving the planet" by 'tricking' their tastebuds into choosing meat-free alternatives.
Maybe that’s just what the jackfruit is doing, feeding and saving the planet, one healthy, fruity, meatless meal at a time.
What does all this mean for you?
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