According to market research firm Expert Market Research, the global jackfruit market, currently valued at $311.7 million, is anticipated to reach $380.96 million by 2028. The jackfruit tree is widely cultivated throughout tropical regions of the world, including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the rainforests of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Australia. It produces a big fruit that has been eaten in many countries for centuries, but only relatively recently it has been used as fake meat.
Growing jackfruit requires no irrigation, pesticides, or fertilizers, which makes jackfruit a more sustainable option than many other popular meat substitute crops.
Annie Ryu, a Harvard graduate, founded The Jackfruit Company sourcing sustainably harvested jackfruit from India, and in 2022 it worked with 1,783 farmers who collectively had 516,677 trees. The company now produces plant-based imitations of chicken wings, meatballs, pulled pork, and crispy chicken patties. He said to VegNews, “We had to build a previously non-existent— now world-leading — farm-to-market supply chain for a massively underutilized miracle crop, jackfruit. Today we have a fully owned subsidiary in India, where jackfruit is native and most abundant, and partner directly with thousands of small farmers, contributing 10- 40%t of their annual income. We were first to market, and no one had ever seen or heard of jackfruit—so we took a whole fruit with us to every one of our sales calls, to prove it was a real crop we hadn’t made up, grown by real farmers.”
The Australian jackfruit industry is also experiencing a growth peak thanks to a $1 million investment from AgriFutures Australia. Jack & Friends, founded by Jessica Kwong, is another company which uses a unique blend of jackfruit and pea protein to create a plant-based jerky.