Cindy Swanberg Schwing Talks London Fruit's Jackfruit Offering
- by Robert Schaulis
PHARR, TX – London Fruit is rounding out its line-up of tropical fruits with a much-vaunted new specialty item—jackfruit. This perennial staple of South Asian cuisine is fast becoming a must-have item for both adventurous eaters and health-conscious consumers, and London Fruit is meeting burgeoning demand as shoppers seek out more and more plant-based dietary options.
“So many people don’t know what this oversized fruit is when they walk past it in the store. We’re really trying to encourage retailers, receivers, and distributors to cut up jackfruit and let their potential buyers try it—or sell it pre-cut at the retail level in tray packs,” explained Cindy Swanberg Schwing, Sr. Marketing / Business Development, noting that while the profile of this specialty offering is booming, many customers have yet to try jackfruit, and slicing and sampling the fruit can help bridge the narrowing gap between interest and dollar sales.
And while education is perhaps the biggest challenge with getting jackfruit into consumers’ carts, Cindy tells me that increasingly health-conscious consumers looking to add more and more plant-based foods to their diet have primed jackfruit for propitious growth. It’s being touted as “The Healthy Main Dish, a Wonderfruit.”
“It’s a natural for Asian supermarkets to carry jackfruit—we’re hoping to broaden our marketing scope by expanding into more traditional North American food outlets. There is already a lot of good information out there, so we’re trying to get interested consumers who have heard of jackfruit to take that next step,” Cindy explains, noting that jackfruit already enjoys a robust web presence—with articles in popular online publications, social media features, and YouTube videos offering North American consumers more information than ever before about how to prepare and eat jackfruit.
“Not only is there a bit of a cultural challenge with jackfruit, it poses some difficulties in cutting and preparing. But it’s similar to a watermelon in that respect. And after all, everyone loves watermelon and they don’t let that stop them!”
And like watermelon, though, price per whole fruit may seem expensive, Cindy tells me that price per pound is more than reasonable—particularly when considered as a meat substitute.
“You have to weigh it out—figuratively and literally,” added Cindy, who tells me that the price per pound of jackfruit can be many times less expensive than the price of meat per pound, for example—and selling and sampling pre-cut product is a great way to clue consumers in!
The company is currently importing jackfruit out of Nayarit, Mexico, and expects to have ample supply from now until September—complementing London Fruit’s mango season nicely—with even stronger volume by the middle of April.
Kalani Jaime, Sales at London Fruit, encourages buyers to ‘lock-in’ the fruit as early as possible. “Once the jackfruit arrives, it doesn’t sit on the floor long. Having this new ‘item’ in our arsenal opens up new avenues for all of our products.”
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