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Jack of all fruits

The versatile jackfruit is turning up in all kinds of consumer packaged goods

North Americans caught on to the value of jackfruit as a meat alternative in dishes like tacos and pulled pork just a few years ago, and the popularity of the South and Southeast Asian fruit has been skyrocketing ever since.

“This is the third year that it has been trending big time,” said Robert Schueller of Melissa’s/World Variety Produce at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in October. The popular fruit is now turning up in convenient packaged goods like the ones on this page:

Montreal-based Cha’s offers two different types of jackfruit in a can: Young Jackfruit in Brine and Sweet Jackfruit in Juice. Both are certified organic, gluten free, non-GMO, and have no added sugar or sulphites. The sweet jackfruit is packed in organic pineapple juice, while the young jackfruit is packed in a brine of purified water, organic coconut vinegar and sea salt using BPA-free cans.

Colorado’s The Jackfruit Company recently launched its new Complete Jackfruit Meal lineup, featuring four globally-inspired options: Coconut + Vegetables + Thai Green Chile; Chickpeas + Spinach + Garam Masala; Black Beans + Corn + Tex Mex Spice; and Red Kidney Beans + Tomato + Rustic Herbs. These shelf-stable, single- serve, plant-based meals are ready-to-eat: just heat them up and they’re good to go.

Upton’s Naturals has packaged jackfruit in six trendy flavours: Original, Sriracha, Sweet and Smoky, Thai Curry, Chili Lime and Bar-B-Que. This jackfruit can serve as a stand-in for meat in various dishes including tacos, nachos, salads, sandwiches, wraps, pasta or rice dishes, according to the Chicago-based company.

Ecoideas’ packaged jackfruit products come in shredded and cubed varieties. There’s Original Cubes, Original Shreds, Spicy BBQ Shreds, Tasty Thai Cubes, Teriyaki Cubes, and Spicy Mexican Shreds. The Canadian company’s certified organic jackfruit cubes and shreds can be used as a meat alternative to add to sandwiches, tacos, pasta, rice, salads and more.

Along with its line of canned beans, peas and callaloo, Caribbean food company Grace Foods also now offers a canned jackfruit: Young Green Jackfruit in Brine. The brine is a simple water, salt and citric acid combination and the can’s label highlights that this product is vegan, high in fibre and a “perfect meat alternative.”

This article appeared in Canadian Grocer’December 2019/January 2020 issue.

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