Entrepreneurs, researchers, farmers, chefs, and marketing executives are quickly realizing the vast potential of breadfruit for value added products. Value added products are ones produced in a way that enhances a product’s value and changes its physical state or form, such as making apples into sauce or grapes into wine. The explosive popularity of organic, natural, and gluten-free markets has consumers clamoring for foods that are nutritious and delicious—and gluten free. Breadfruit is all these things, naturally.
Breadfruit’s shorter shelf life has posed a challenge in the past to keep fresh fruit stocked in the produce section of stores not located in tropical regions where breadfruit grows. However, making breadfruit into value added products can diminish this dilemma. Drying and grinding the mature, starchy fruit into flour has opened up a whole new market for products such as bread, cakes, chips, cookies, and so much more. Delicious hummus, doughs, tortillas, pies and other desserts can be made from the fruit and sold to consumers worldwide.
Rising interest in breadfruit products was apparent at the 2015 International Breadfruit Conference. Hundreds of people traveled thousands of miles to be part of the event sponsored by The University of the West Indies. “Commercialising Breadfruit for Food and Nutrition Security” was attended by stakeholders from Caribbean nations, Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius, Malaysia, Fiji, Samoa, Costa Rica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Suriname, and the USA. The conference culminated in Trinidad’s first Breadfruit Exhibition and Festival, with hundreds of people attending and dozens of exhibitors participating. Exhibitors displayed innovations in breadfruit food technology such as shredding and French fry machines and flour. Festival goers sampled breadfruit ice cream, punch, sparkling wine, chips dipped in chocolate;, breadfruit cheese cake, and liqueur, and fruit cake.
Since large numbers of micropropagated breadfruit trees have become available to purchase in 2009, commercial orchards have been planted throughout the tropics for food security and economic opportunity. These young trees are producing their first harvests, causing the availability of fruit for production to greatly increase as the trees mature. As more sources of fruit develop, the prospects of getting breadfruit products into the hands of consumers increases as well. With greater resources and improvements in food technology, the possibilities for new, natural, value added breadfruit products are endless.