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According to the OEC (2023), the United States holds the top position as the world’s largest importer of exotic fruits. We want to provide you with information on the finest varieties to enhance your culinary endeavors across a wide array of dishes.

The Most Consumed Exotic Fruits in the United States

In the past few decades, there has been an unprecedented surge in the demand for tropical fruits and vegetables, surpassing all previous records. This is due to the constant growth of the retail population (Siicex, 2011).

The consumption of foreign fruits is one of the substantial bases of fresh food imports (OEC, 2023). As a result, it is highly probable that you will come across a selection of these fruits during your visit to a traditional market:

  • Mangosteen
  • Dragon fruit
  • Citrus caviar
  • Tuna
  • Hot bell pepper

The 5 Most Popular Exotic Fruits in The United States

Now that you are acquainted with the most popular fruits in the United States, let us present the ranking of the top five. In this compilation, our emphasis lies in providing you with an extensive list of exotic fruits from Colombia.

5. Cape Gooseberry

While the cape gooseberry is a fruit native to Peru and quite common in South America, it is not as widely available in the everyday U.S. market. Interestingly, it is Colombia that takes the lead in its global exportation (Fine Dinning Lovers, 2022).

This fruit is known to be rich in vitamin C, in addition to containing antioxidants (IAlimentos, 2023). The latter contributes to extending the youthful appearance of the skin. When consumed, it is commonly used in desserts or drinks as the main ingredient.

4. Zapote

It is a fruit consumed since pre-Hispanic times, whose origins extend throughout the Americas (Government of Mexico, 2016). Its texture is hard, and its color can vary between regions. Colombia is one of the Latin American countries that exports it to the United States.

Besides being characterized by an intense flavor, the consumption of this exotic fruit contributes to reducing high blood pressure. It has anti-inflammatory properties and relieves diarrhea. In turn, it can stand out for its use in jams and desserts (Government of Mexico, 2017).

3. Pitaya (Dragon Fruit)

It is one of the most striking fruits due to its peculiar appearance. Likewise, it is recognized for its sweet flavor, which makes it one of the most demanded.

While its origins can be traced back to America, particularly the tropical zone, this fruit is now cultivated not only in various regions across Vietnam but also in other parts of the world (IICA, 2018).

Among the health benefits of its consumption is its high vitamin C content. It also contains captine, which helps to relax the nervous system. This fruit is renowned for its exceptionally refreshing qualities and serves as an excellent natural source of antioxidants (Anahuác Mayab, 2021).

Moreover, it is commonly employed as an addition to milkshakes or chilled desserts. Conversely, it can also be incorporated into haute cuisine for its decorative appeal.

2. Gulupa

Gulupa originated in southern Brazil, but its cultivation has spread to America, Australia, and New Zealand (Invesa, n.d.). In addition to its characteristic sweet taste, this fruit is famous for having a very pleasant aroma.

Among the numerous benefits of consuming it, notable highlights include its antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is crucial to emphasize that it may also contribute to enhancing the well-being of individuals with high blood pressure levels (Invesa, n.d.).

When incorporating it into your dishes, you can harness its exceptional aroma to your advantage. This versatile ingredient can be enjoyed in its natural form or utilized in a variety of preparations such as ice cream, juices, desserts, and salads (Agroclick, 2021).

1. Passion Fruit

Passion fruit, hailed as the most sought-after tropical fruit, has garnered widespread popularity throughout Latin America. Its origins can be traced back to Brazil, particularly the Amazon region (Cedeva, 2016). Currently, cultivation of this crop spans various tropical regions, including Colombia, Venezuela, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Asia, and numerous other countries.

This is one of the exotic fruits that offers numerous benefits to its consumers, primarily due to its high content of vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. Additionally, it boasts a remarkable abundance of antioxidants that aid in the prevention of chronic diseases (Coracai, n.d.).

When incorporated into recipes, it can be used in juices, sweet desserts, cocktails, and other preparations. It is also highly prized in confectionery, as its jam is unparalleled and delicious (Coracai, n.d.).

Why To Include Exotic Fruits in Your Menu?

In addition to the health benefits mentioned above, exotic fruits offer an incomparable taste. Add them to your restaurant dishes or any industrial food – it is almost impossible to say no to their fabulous sensation! Moreover, this presents a remarkable opportunity to set yourself apart from competitors. Without a doubt, your customers will always want more!

Bibliographic references

  • Albareda, F. (2011). Opportunities of the “Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Sector in the United States”. Siicex.
  • Ovies, M. (2021). Pitahaya, the dragon fruit and its benefits. Anáhuac Mayab.
  • Castellanos, P. (2023). What are the benefits of cape gooseberry? IAlimentos.
  • Cedeva (2016). Technical guide for the management of passion fruit.
  • Colombia (n.d.). Colombia’s 10 most exotic fruits, like passion fruit.
  • Coracai (n.d.). Maracuyá properties and benefits.
  • Fine Dinning Lovers (2022). Cape gooseberry: what it is, properties and its use in cooking.
  • Government of Mexico (2016). Zapote, fruit like no other.
  • Government of Mexico (2017). Zapote Negro, Mexican fruit with great flavor and popular tradition.
  • Gottau, G. (2021). Pitahaya or dragon fruit: properties, benefits and its use in cooking. Vitónica.
  • Invesa (n.d.). The gulupa fruit, an exotic crop that promises to conquer the world.
  • Montenegro, L. (2022). From Colombia to the world: the big business of “exotic” fruits. Goula
  • Morales, N. (2021). Gulupa, the passion of christ. AgroClick.
  • OEC. (2023). Tropical Fruits in the United States.
  • Pérez, H. (2018). Pitahaya or dragon fruit is significantly promoted in the Dominican republic. IICA.
  • Portal Frutícola (2012). Exotic fruits are enchanting the U.S. market.
  • Villegas, I. (2009). The cultivation of cape gooseberry. Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica.