Tropical fruits are growing in popularity
There was a time not so long ago when certain tropical fruits were not mainstays of the typical American diet. They were instead enjoyed by more adventurous shoppers, or perhaps during special occasions. Things have changed. In the 21st century, more and more people are eating tropical fruits that were long considered obscure.
The trend began with the foodie craze, as shoppers discovered recipes on cooking shows and online, but it kicked into higher gear in 2020, as the nation quarantined during the pandemic and had time to try different foods and recipes. The trend shows no signs of slowing down. Restaurants are open again and lots of people are dining out, but they continue to seek out creative and healthy dishes to eat at home.
Of course, not every tropical fruit is an exotic, exciting food. Bananas, for example, are a tropical fruit and one of the most common fruits around. Other tropical fruits that have long been popular are pineapples, mangos, pomegranates, papayas and avocados.
What makes the tropical fruit trend so exciting is the growing popularity of previously lesser-known fruits, with some produce professionals noting that these once obscure items are now being showcased at the front of stores.
One fruit that has seen an increase in popularity is the dragon fruit, which is known for its white fruit and black seeds, and visually resembles chocolate chip ice cream. In fact, it can be eaten right out of the skin. It can also be featured in salads or as the basis for an ice cream. The fruit is also valued for its health benefits.
Papaya is another popular tropical fruit that has an array of uses. It can be scooped out and eaten, and while its seeds are edible, it’s best to remove them because of their bitter taste. It can also be the star of a fruit salad, used in salsa and smoothies, as a topping for tacos, or used to add new flavor to lemonade, iced tea or water.
Lychee has a distinctive look and a sweet flavor that has made it very popular in recent years. It has a hard red shell, and the fruit itself is white. It’s often feature in Asian cuisine and has recently found its way in American menus, including in cocktails and desserts. It is rich in vitamin C, and is also valued for its antioxidant and as an anti-inflammatory. While it has a tough shell, it’s easy to eat by cracking the stem and peeling away the skin.
Another popular option is the passion fruit, which has a distinctive tart flavor that can enhance yogurts and desserts. It can also be used in salad dressing, as well as in savory dishes, with many chefs using it as a sauce to complement chicken. It can also be showcased in sangria, or just eaten raw.
Highlighting these and other tropical fruits in the produce section can encourage customers to try some new things — and once they get a taste of these fruits, they’re sure to come back for more.