When shopping for tropical fruits, most people wonder “why is jackfruit so expensive?” when they see it for sale at a fruit or vegetable market. After all, you’d think that something that’s so abundant would also be fairly cheap to buy, right? Let’s take a look at why it’s so pricey.
Why Is Jackfruit So Expensive?
If you’re anywhere outside of India and you’re buying fresh or canned jackfruit, you’ve probably noticed that it costs quite a bit of money. The most basic reason for this is because it follows the standard retail formula of overall cost combined with availability, plus what people are willing to pay for it.
This is the largest fruit on the planet, and large items tend to cost a lot of money by default. For example, look at the cost of a small candy bar vs. a massive hunk of choco-liciousness the size of your thigh. The larger one costs a lot more, right? As you can imagine, the same goes for fruit.
How often have you come across a jackfruit in a standard North American or European supermarket? We’re not talking about little neighborhood fruit and vegetable stands that might also carry rambutans and sweetsops, but the big, name-brand grocery stores like WalMart, Kroger, or Sainsbury’s. In all likelihood, that answer is “never”. This is because most grocery stores only carry the most popular and bestselling fruits and vegetables.
In contrast, jackfruit is a very niche market. Up until recently, they were really only popular in SE Asian, India, and Caribbean communities. People who emigrated from those countries and settled elsewhere made a point of importing some of their favorite foods. These in turn drew interest from others in nearby communities but jackfruit is still an acquired taste, especially because of the scent it gives off.
Recently it’s become more popular with wealthier vegans who can afford to buy it. Jackfruit is an amazing, nutrient-dense meat substitute that’s ideal for plant-based diets. That said, it’s too expensive in North America and Europe to be enjoyed by the general population.
Read This Next: What does Jackfruit Smell Like?
Have you ever bought fruit or vegetables at the store and then been devastated when they were too ripe to eat just a couple of days later? Well, this is one of the reasons why jackfruit is so expensive.
It can mature from edible to seriously overripe really quickly. As a result, it has an extremely limited shelf life. This means that it can’t just languish at the grocery store for weeks until people are ready to buy it. From the time it’s delivered from the airport to the fruit market, it only has a few days before it’s considered inedible.
This is one of the reasons why jackfruits are harvested when they’re quite immature: they have greater longevity in transport and have a few days’ grace as far as ripening is concerned.
It costs a lot of money to transport produce around the world. Since there’s such a high cost to transport these fruits from tropical areas to distant locations around the world, prices reflect the cost of labor and fuel as well as fruit quality itself. Add to that the fact that since jackfruit goes bad within days, it has to be shipped and moved around as quickly as possible.
If you’ve ever paid for overnight Fed/Ex delivery vs. standard shipping, you’ll understand the price difference.
You May Also Enjoy: How Big is a Jackfruit and How Much does it Weigh?
This pertains more to tinned jackfruit than raw.
Considering the effort required for preparation, most plant-based people don’t want to put the time and effort into doing so. Instead, they’ll buy tinned jackfruit that has been prepared on location by those local to where the crop is grown.
Jackfruits have thick skins and sticky inner flesh. The fruits have to be processed by hand in order to get the edible pieces out. As a result, skilled workers are required and they need to be paid for their time. Then there’s also the cost of running a safe, hygienic processing facility.
All of these factors are reflected in tinned jackfruit’s price. This is usually somewhere between $3 and $8 USD, depending on the can’s size.
How Much Does a Jackfruit Cost?
This will shift according to location. After all, oranges are far cheaper in Miami than they are in Iqaluit, right? That said, there are some general averages that we can take a look at so you can get an idea of how expensive jackfruit can be.
Typical Price Per Pound (lb)
Once again, the answer to this question depends entirely on where you are. The global average seems to be $3 USD per pound. Of course, that can range from $1 to $12 USD depending on where you’re located
As mentioned, fruits and vegetables are cheaper when they can be picked locally and sold at a market the same day. In contrast, those transported around the world will cost an arm, a leg, and possibly a kidney. Or two.
For example, if you’re in Malaysia you can probably pick up a whole, 20 lb jackfruit for about $5 USD ($22 MYR) . Meanwhile, that same jackfruit will cost about $250 USD (184 FR) in Switzerland. Even in places in the US where it’s locally grown—like Florida—you can still expect to pay around $4 USD per pound. As such, a 30-pound jackfruit will still cost about $147 USD.
Amazon.com offers a fairly small 7 lb jackfruit for about $80 USD. This comes to just over $11 USD per pound. On average, you can expect to pay an average of $5 per pound for a fresh jackfruit unless you live in Alaska.
Typical Price Per Kilogram (kg)
The cost in kg is close to $6.60 USD. Once again, the typical price depends entirely on where you’re located.
In Europe, the average price of jackfruit per kg is around $22 USD.
Fortunately, canned jackfruit is significantly more affordable there, so you can go to a local Asian market and pick some up after you’ve finished hyperventilating.
Related Article: 30 Types of Jackfruit and How to Identify Them
Where to Buy Jackfruit?
That depends entirely on where you’re located. We’ve actually written a full article here on where you can find it by location, as well as which types of food markets to check out.
If you can’t find fresh jackfruit where you live, you should be able to find it canned at local Southeast Asian, Indian, or Caribbean grocery stores. Alternatively, many online grocery stores also offer canned jackfruit, so you just need to do a bit of web searching to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Now that you’re so familiar with this amazing fruit, you’ll be able to help other shoppers when they ask “why is jackfruit so expensive?” at the local fruit market. Then you can trade recipes and make new friends while you’re at it!