The Summer of Imperial Papaya: 3 Reasons to Love this Tropical Fruit

The Summer of Imperial Papaya: 3 Reasons to Love this Tropical Fruit

Are papayas on your radar yet? They should be! As a tropical fruit in transition—not quite mainstream like pineapple or avocados, but definitely more popular than exotics like guava or jackfruit—they have what consumers are looking for: versatile convenience; sweet, tropical taste; and a rich nutritional profile. So it’s no surprise that, more and more, consumers are asking for them.

I’ve dubbed this the summer of papaya because I’m so excited about one of Robinson Fresh’s newest products: the Imperial papaya.

How Imperial papayas came to be
After careful analysis of produce trends, our team works with preferred growers to develop new and innovative varieties of produce. And, as a fresh fruit with steady momentum in sales—particularly in locations across the United States with large Hispanic and Asian populations—it was only a matter of time before we began work with a seed company to develop a variety of papaya that carries specific (i.e., consumer-preferred) characteristics from existing papaya varieties.

To understand the Imperial, let’s first look at two other well-known papaya varieties, the Maradol and the Tainung. The Maradol papaya is preferred by Hispanic consumers, has vibrant yellowish-green skin and reddish-orange flesh, and boasts high yields. The Tainung is also popular with consumers because of its great taste profile, low odor, and minimal aftertaste; it also boasts a longer shelf life. One drawback of the Tainung is that it lacks the appealing skin color of the Maradol, which can limit impulse sales.

The Imperial is a blend of the two—the best of both worlds. Here are three things your shoppers will love about the Imperial papaya.

1. Bold color, great flavor
Imperial papayas have the bright coloring of Maradols that tends to catch shoppers’ eyes—a yellowish-green skin with good texture and sunset reddish-orange interior. And with a high sugar content, Imperials have an exquisite, sweet flavor that tastes great with fresh-squeezed lime juice, diced with jalapeno and cilantro as a salsa, blended into smoothies, or paired with protein.

2. Ripe with health benefits
Imperials are packed with vitamins and nutrients. They’re high in vitamins C and A, potassium, and calcium. They’re a good source of fiber and water content and contain an enzyme that breaks down protein, which makes them good for digestion.

3. A taste of summer, all year long
We work with growers to match ideal growing seasons with locations to provide consistent supply; we did the same when we developed the Imperial papaya, making the taste of summer available throughout the year. What’s more, Imperials maintain their firmness, and that makes them easier to transport without bruising and gives them a longer shelf life than other varieties.

There’s a lot to love about Imperial papayas, and we’re seeing shoppers responding positively to them. To learn more or explore the options for an Imperial papaya program in your store, connect with one of our experts.

Jose Rossignoli

Jose Rossignoli - General Manager, Tropical Category

Jose joined C.H. Robinson in July 2012 and currently leads the Tropical category for Robinson Fresh. His expertise in the industry includes retail business development, financial planning, and global supply. As a General Manager of the Tropical Category, Jose drives supply development from 10 different countries to our customers in North America, Asia and Europe. Jose lives in Atlanta and holds a Master of Agribusiness from the University of Florida.

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