The Growth of Exotic Fruit Business in India The 500-crore exotic fruit market is sure to grow further and bring a plethora of opportunities, as the population tries to go after a healthy and balanced diet and fulfill their various nutritional needs

By Tarun Arora

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These days it is not an unfamiliar sight to spot exotic fruits in local markets in your city. From the spiky, bright pink dragon fruits to red-haired rambutan, creamy avocados, sweet and tangy kiwis, purple-skinned mangosteen, egg-sized passion fruit, and thick-skinned butternut squash, bright and colourful exotic fruits are increasingly catching people's fancy as they step into a supermarket or a fruit shop. In fact, most of these foreign fruits have reported a surge in their import as well as their consumption percentage. According to figures, India's annual import of exotic fruits is gradually growing. As per reports, the kiwifruit import has been growing by 25 per cent annually along with other fruits showing an 15 per cent increase.

The Modern Consumers

Thanks to the well-travelled and well-heeled Indian consumers that the importers and retailers are witnessing a surge in demand for the exotic produce.
The business of exotic fruits is largely influenced by the ever-evolving consumer habits and the abundant health benefits they carry. A lot of consumers are adopting plant-based foods and incorporating nutritious exotic fruits in their daily food habits due to their wonderful flavour and myriad health benefits. For instance, while avocados are a great source of Vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, the sweet and tangy kiwis are loaded with nutrients like Vitamins C, K, E, folate, and potassium. Both these exotic fruits are packed with antioxidants and are a good source of fibre too.

The Outlook

With the westernisation of Indian society and the growing health conscious-customers, the demand for imported fruits has shown an uptick in the country over the last couple of years. Interestingly, the demand for exotic fruits is not only witnessed in metro cities, but also in tier II and III cities such as Nagpur, Kanpur and Raipur. Furthermore, the appearance of exotic fruits in the diet-charts of famous celebrities, TV ads and as poster-images of a certain kind of lifestyle, are driving millennials to experience the global trends in fruits. The exotic produce is priced higher and commands a premium of 50 per cent or more over local fruits. For example, imported avocados are priced anywhere between INR 200 and INR 400 per piece. While Indian consumers are highly price conscious, the rising disposable income and healthy food habits, have enabled them to spend a little extra on their groceries.

The Market

In order to bring down the prices and enable consumers to relish the health benefits of exotic fruits, a lot of enterprising farmers are taking up the cultivation of these fruits in their backyard or farms to meet the new and growing demand. Farmers from Himachal Pradesh to southern states in Kerala and Karnataka are showing interest in the cultivation of exotic fruit varieties to earn good returns. In fact, they are directly supplying to restaurants, enabling chefs to whip up exciting dishes every day! The 500-crore exotic fruit market is sure to grow further and bring a plethora of opportunities, as the population tries to go after a healthy and balanced diet and fulfil their various nutritional needs.

Tarun Arora

Director, IG International

Tarun Arora is a  business tycoon with over a decade of experience in the Indian fresh produce industry. He leads the young corporate team at IG and guides the company through diversification, innovation and growth.

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