The jackfruit may be a popular tree-borne fruit that’s common in tropical regions, but British entrepreneurs are trying to introduce the fruit to Western countries as excellent meat substitutes. It has the taste and appearance of pulled pork and entrepreneurs Jordan Grayson and Abi Robertson want the world to know that jackfruit could be the next big thing in a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle — and most likely the solution to world hunger.
One jackfruit weighs between 4.5 and 45 kilograms and is enough to feed an entire family. Each fruit has hundreds of nutrient-rich seeds and can be great substitutes for staples threatened by climate change like corn and wheat. This makes the fruit a likely candidate to help end hunger problems in the world. As vegan and vegetarian lifestyles continue to gain popularity, Grayson and Robertson, both 23-years-old, are attempting to introduce jackfruit to the mainstream.
Grayson and Robertson conceptualized Project Jackfruit when they needed to find substitutes for meat. In October 2017, the entrepreneurs set up a crowdfunding campaign to help them secure the funds for manufacturing. The campaign was a success and Grayson and Robertson made more than $9,230. They then proceeded with manufacturing in India.
Their product, pouches of jackfruit mixes, sells for $6.90 for a 300-gram pouch. The young entrepreneurs hope to distribute their products to UK retailers soon, as reported by Daily Mail. But will people be able to embrace this exotic fruit, which many describe to have a putrid smell? Grayson and Robertson admitted that people might need to get used to the taste.
“Some people seem very nervous about it but once they’ve been tempted and tried it they can’t believe it.”
Grayson and Robertson’s product is not the only first of its kind since jackfruit has already been recognized not only as a fruit, but also an ingredient in meals like curries, burgers, and tacos. For instance, a vegetarian restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, offers the Jack BBQ, which consists of jackfruit, kosher dill pickles, and onions placed on top of a sourdough bread.
There are also companies like The Jackfruit Company and Upton’s Naturals that sell jackfruit pre-cooked and unflavored placed in convenience packs. Also, flavored or spiced varieties of the product are available. In the case of Project Jackfruit, Grayson and Robertson made them as pre-prepared pork burger alternatives and jerky.
While jackfruit has been recognized as a great meat alternative in recent years, many people disagree that it tastes like actual pork. Business Insider’s Eric Brodwin agreed that jackfruit sold in packets had a pleasant taste. While it does have a meaty texture, it never had a meaty taste.
Still, jackfruit is considered by experts a miracle fruit not only for its nutrients but also for the fact that it can survive the drought. Grayson and Robertson are just among the entrepreneurs who hope to convince more people about the benefits of jackfruit with their product. Not only do Westerners need the convincing but also people in India, where jackfruit –although a common fruit — is being thrown out easily to rot.