Fruits and vegetables certainly don’t come to mind when you think of the new products that have recently arrived on grocery store shelves. But if you think innovation is lacking in the product department, you’re wrong. Over the past decade we’ve seen an increase in interesting, colorful and exotic new varieties, whether it’s being introduced to the US market for the first time or growing in popularity.
From the funky staples we’re used to seeing in a different color, like purple tomatoes, to the distant cousin of the tomatillo native to South America, here are the most exciting new varieties that may soon become commonplace in your grocery store.
Have you ever seen white strawberries? According to southern life, the fruit has been around since 2012 and was developed by a Japanese farmer. White strawberries are unique for their sheer pale color and are said to be much sweeter than the regular red strawberries you’re used to (the fruit is even compared to the flavor of a pineapple). You can buy this variety at grocery giants like Aldi, Walmart, or Publix when in season.
You may not have seen purple tomatoes yet, and that’s because they’re expected to hit grocery stores later this year. Last fall, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved genetically modified purple tomatoes and seeds for consumption. Apparently, the fruit was created in 2008 and has unique health benefits due to its abundance of antioxidants.
“Purple pepper” — say it three times faster! The dragonfly chili is purple on the outside and bright green on the inside, and is a beautiful addition to any plate. The vegetable is said to have a robust, sweet flavor and a long shelf life (but that doesn’t mean it should be left in the fridge!). If you’re looking for a new vegetable to try in the spring or summer, the dragonfly pepper will be available primarily at Walmart and Target.
Jackfruit has become a popular vegan trend in the United States. According to NPR, this food comes from India and is said to be the largest fruit tree in the world. You can order fresh jackfruit through Instacart or Amazon. It is also available in the produce aisles of many grocery stores. Since jackfruit often replaces meat, you can use it in sandwiches, tacos, etc.
Dragon fruit is therefore not exactly an unknown food, but it was not widely available in North America until 2008. The USDA signed a trade agreement with Vietnam to import the fruit to wholesalers, its origin being Central and South America. Dragon fruit is grown commercially in warmer states like California, Florida, and Hawaii. Fruit is available frozen, dried, or organic at most stores, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, and Publix.
Golden berries have been around for a while but are relatively new to the United States. These nightshades, native to Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, come from the same family as the tomatillo and are considered a superfood thanks to their nutritional density, especially in the vitamin C and vitamin A departments. And you can tell by their tart taste, which some describe as a combination of clementines and cranberries.
The fruit became popular in the United States several years ago and has since become available at Trader Joe’s and online.
Olivia holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and political science from the University of Connecticut. She is a foodie, traveler, journalist and celebrity interviewer. Learn more about Olivia
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