iFresh’s increase in exotic fruit sales is due to a bountiful harvest from Dragon Seeds, a 15-acre farm based in Vero Beach, Fla.
The market for seasonal fruit is ripe with opportunity, with exotic fruit showing particular promise due to bountiful harvests. iFresh Inc., an Asian-American grocery supermarket chain and e-grocer, is attributing its strong sales of dragon fruit, lychee and longan this year to an abundant harvest from Dragon Seeds, a 15-acre farm based in Vero Beach, Fla., that specializes in organically grown Mibao dragon fruit, exclusively supplied to iFresh.
Dragon fruit has become a profitable and sustainable item, growing from a niche product into an increasingly popular exotic fruit in local supermarkets across the country. Similarly, longan and lychee are growing in demand, according to iFresh, though they're mainly targeted to ethnic markets, with a focus on Asian communities.
“I am excited, but not surprised, to see our fruit product sales grow this year,” said Long Deng, chairman of Long Island City, N.Y.-based iFresh and majority owner of Dragon Seeds. “Our partnering farms have had one of the strongest harvests despite the challenging weather, thanks to their sustainable organic farming technology. In fact, not only has the quantity of fruit improved, but also the quality, leading to the huge spike in exotic fruit sales we have seen this year.”
He continued: “As a result, iFresh’s 2021 sales of dragon fruit, longan and lychee are expected to reach $1.2 million, $350,000, and $350,000, respectively. We are building a robust supply chain to avoid impact under unpredictable events such as the continuation of the pandemic. In the meantime, our team will continue to work diligently to keep the momentum and further build business throughout the rest of 2021 and beyond.”
The company has made two notable partnerships this year to continue to propel its business forward. First, it teamed with Brea, Calif.-based e-commerce platform Yami (formerly Yamibuy) to increase its online marketplace business. The partnership is extending iFresh’s fresh grocery, food product and snack sales to Yami's nationwide network through the company's direct-to-customer platform.
Second, iFresh joined forces with London-based global food delivery platform HungryPanda to launch an online perishable goods delivery service in New York. Through this partnership, shoppers can order iFresh’s perishable goods via the HungryPanda mobile app, in which shoppers will have the choice to have items home delivered on demand or through scheduled delivery. The delivery service is offered through the chain stores of iFresh in New York and is expected to be extended to cover other regions where the retailer operates stores.
iFresh has nine retail supermarkets along the U.S. eastern seaboard (with additional stores in Glen Cove, N.Y., Miami and Connecticut opening soon), and one in-house wholesale business strategically located in cities with a highly concentrated Asian population.