Papayas gain traction in U.S.

Excerpts from a 9/5/11 article by Jim Offner in The Packer.

Papayas may not have gotten the attention mangoes have attracted, but the fruit is gaining popularity and sales continue to increase.

Papayas are the latest in a series of conquests tropical fruits have made in the U.S., said Mary Ostlund, director of marketing for Brooks Tropicals Inc., Homestead Fla.

“Tropicals’ acceptance is like rolling thunder,” she said.

“The first to hit, ages ago were bananas. Pineapples’ flair both in appearance and taste, along with mangoes with their bright colors and equally right taste, rolled in after that. Papayas seem to be rolling in after mangoes. Chances are papayas increased sales over time echo mangoes, just at a later time.”

Brooks offers Caribbean Red papaya year-round, but the variety is particularly amenable to fall promotions, Ostlund said.

“Everybody promotes in the summer. The smart move is to leverage the Caribbean Red’s inside color to color-coordinate with your fall’s displays,” Ostlund said.

“Have Caribbean Red papayas cut in half and wrapped with a spoon and a slice of lime to let this fruit show off its beautiful color.”

Produce buyers are health-conscious buyers and should be interested to hear about red fruit with antioxidants, Ostlund said.

“Why not do a cross-promotional display highlighting red fruit?” she said.

“Tomatoes, Caribbean Red papayas, watermelons, pink grapefruits, guavas, apricots and red peppers can all join in.”