In 2011, when she was a pre-med student, our founder, Annie Ryu, had traveled to India to implement a maternal and child healthcare program she’d developed with her brother Alex. When she saw her first jackfruit at a street vendor’s stall, she was immediately intrigued. Why had she never heard of this huge, green, oddly studded fruit that was a dietary staple here in South and Southeast Asia? She set out to learn more, and what she learned was this: despite its many nutritional and ecological benefits, the majority of jackfruit grown in India was going to waste.
The jackfruit tree is wholly adapted to its environment—resistant to high temperatures, drought, and easy to grow. And because it doesn’t need to be replanted each year, it’s more viable for farmers to plant additional trees for future investment in their supply chain.
Not only that, jackfruit itself is nutritionally dense. It’s high in sustaining fiber, low in calories, and has a meaty, firm texture and versatile flavor. All put together, Annie realized that jackfruit had potential that matched its size—to not only improve our diets and health, but also the livelihood of local farmers, and ultimately, the well-being, of our planet.
But despite its local popularity and the abundant production, a virtually non-existent international supply system meant the majority of this miracle food was left unsold and uneaten.