AgriFutures Australia is investing nearly $1 million into a new project: ‘Developing ready to market jackfruit products for Australian market’, providing an opportunity for the Australian jackfruit industry to grow with commercially viable processed products.
All because the rise in jackfruit popularity is prompting Aussie plantings.
Source: PFN Whole Jackfruit
The Australian jackfruit industry is worth around $2 million dollars annually and is currently a niche market. Despite being widely grown throughout Asia, domestic demand is seeing the industry expand.
The Northern Territory Government’s Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (DITT) has received funding from AgriFutures to lead the project, with the University of Melbourne also involved.
AgriFuture’s investment follows a study last year where it commissioned Monash Food Innovation to unlock the potential of the jackfruit market and how the industry could drive more consumer demand as part of the Emerging Industries Program.
Results from the study suggested Australians were interested in consuming more jackfruit products due to its high nutritional value and flavour, but a big barrier was the availability of products outside growing regions in northern Australia.
AgriFutures Emerging Industries senior manager, Dr Olivia Reynolds said the project would work with growers, processors and retailers to try to build the supply chain from the ground up.
'Jackfruit is a fruit which is realising expansion of plantings in Australia as a result of strong market demand signals for fresh and value-added products that can be differentiated from imports through superior genetics, quality and safety standards', says Dr Reynolds.
“The project will focus on the development of three processed jackfruit products, building a processed jackfruit market which will enable Australian growers to increase their plantings or divert excess fruit when the fresh fruit market becomes overwhelmed,” said Dr Reynolds.
Currently Jackfruit are imported into Australia from Asia with the greatest volume coming in from Sri Lanka via the LiveLife Stores outlets parent company Sanmik Foods with ready to eat and canned product.
DITT project lead, Chelsea Moore said jackfruit had many potential uses beyond fresh fruit. “The arils can be cooked when they are green for a savoury flavour, the seeds can be roasted like nuts, and other parts can be processed into highly nutritious products,” said Moore. With so many potential products, it is important that the fruit specifications are specific to the product.
The University of Melbourne will be looking at phytochemical characterisation, nutritional composition, sensory, storage stability and packaging requirements, and NT DITT will be assessing the harvest windows to meet the product specifications.
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