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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Annie Nyu quit medical career to launch vegan alt-meat brand Jack & Annie’s

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Annie Nyu discovered the tremendous potential of jackfruit on a trip to India. This prompted her to leave her medical career to launch Jack & Annie’s, a vegan mock meat brand.

 Almost every household on India’s south coast has jackfruit growing in their backyard. They are well-known for their flexibility, in addition to their distinct appearance and aroma. It can be eaten raw or ripe, in many forms, and no part of this fruit, including its seeds, goes to waste.

Jackfruits are low in calories and high in fiber, protein, Vitamin C, and a variety of minerals such as manganese, magnesium, and potassium. There are also recent studies that show they are beneficial in persons with Type 2 diabetes. However, the rest of the world is finally realizing its huge potential.

As several foreign corporations successfully market Indian charpais and kurtas, a few have begun exporting jackfruits from India to market them overseas as’superfoods’ or meat replacements. One such company is Jack & Annie’s, which is situated in Boulder, Colorado.

 In the United States, they employ jackfruit to produce frozen and refrigerated plant-based meat replacements, and they just announced a $23 million Series B fundraising round.

While Indians have known about the fruit for ages, their website narrates the account of Annie meeting ‘Jack’ (jackfruit) only a decade ago.

Annie Ryu, was a medical student, when she visited South India in 2011 and saw jackfruit for the “first time” in her life at a street vendor’s stall.

She explained in a National Geographic interview published on July 15, 2016, “At first, I assumed it was a porcupine,”

 When Annie tried the fruit for the first time as a curry dish, she claimed it “blew her mind.”

She says, “It was excellent and satisfying, with a feel similar to flesh. Not to mention the fact that it was high in fiber and low in calories.

Local farmers brought this easy-to-grow, drought-resistant plant to market to sustain their livelihoods and villages,” she writes on her website.

 Annie also discovered that the fruit was drought tolerant, high-yielding, and that more than 70% of it went unused. The astounding realization and breadth of a good market in the West motivated her to abandon her medical career and launch her first enterprise in the jackfruit business, establishing what they claim to be the “world’s largest jackfruit supply chain.”

In 2015, she founded The Jackfruit Company in this manner. The Jackfruit Company produces whole cuisine plant-based meat replacements and claims to be the number one ‘jackfruit’ brand in the United States. They claim to be the third-largest frozen plant-based brand in the world.

 Later in 2020, Annie’s brand developed Jack & Annie’s, her second venture in her jackfruit business that supplied frozen and refrigerated meat alternatives, in an attempt to expand her business. The company sells a variety of jackfruit goods such as meatballs, nuggets, crumbles, sausages, buffalo wings, and so on. In the frozen market, these goods are priced between $4.99 (Rs 378) and $5.99 (Rs 454). For refrigerated items, prices range from $6.99 (Rs 530) to $7.99 (Rs 605).

Closer to home, the modest jackfruit sells for roughly Rs 30 per kg. This equates to an almost 2000% difference in percentage.

Jack & Annie’s products are made in the United States. They now have over 1,500 sites at retailers such as  Target,  Whole Foods, Meijer, and Giant.


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