London-based startup Abakus Foods is selling dried Chinese jujube fruits to a variety of European food markets and online as a superfruit snack. Jujubes are naturally sweet red dates that can be found in China and are well known for their nutritional qualities. Abakus Foods is currently exporting six varieties of their on-the-go jujube fruit snacks, including dried jujube fruit, jujube fruit crisps, and jujube fruit stuffed with nuts .
Although most of the company’s retail partners are in the United Kingdom and Ireland, they also have their products in retail stores in Germany, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Lithuania and Bulgaria. The company has not yet confirmed an expansion into the US but their products are available for online purchase on Amazon and their website.
According to Abakus Foods founder Helen Wang, the company sources their jujube fruits from the Xinjiang region in Northwest China and they are dried for their jujube snack products. Abakus Foods is also looking into making jujubes more accessible to food companies involved in the bakery, dairy, beverage and confectionary industry. The superfruit can be used in a variety of formats including teas, cookies, puddings and savory-sweet meals.
With the millennial market currently dominating the food space, jujubes have a lot of potential in gaining popularity as a superfood, which is a segment that many food companies are investing in. According to Mintel research, between 2011 and 2015 the number of food and drink products launched that contained “superfood,” “superfruit” or “supergrain” ingredients increased by 202 percent.
Although the US is a promising market for Abakus Foods’ jujube products, their current European reach has the potential to be successful as well . Mintel found that over 70 percent of consumers in France (72 percent) and Germany (71 percent) agree that health-promoting benefits of natural foods are preferable to the added benefits of functional foods. The company’s primary market, the United Kingdom, has been found to have a strong consumer base in the superfood category as well. A CBI report found that 61 percent of UK consumers have bought a food product because it was marketed as a superfood.
However, because the US has the largest share of superfood and drink product launches globally, it is a market that Abakus should not ignore. Since their products are already available online, the company has a good chance of reaching US consumers.