Jackfruit as a meat substitute is booming: Lotao from Berlin puts the sustainability of the production chain first, funded by KfW DEG and with scientific support from the Neubrandenburg University of Applied Sciences
Berlin, July 2019. LPP Lotao GmbH from Berlin began developing vegan jackfruit products for the European market two years ago. A development project has now emerged for the next three years from extensive collaboration with an agricultural research foundation in Bangalore and another foundation that looks after and supports several hundred farmers in the region around Karnataka.
Lotao, together with the project partners, ensures that the production of the jackfruit BioFarmers involved is professionalized. The quality of the young fruit harvested locally should be improved and standardized so that a sustainable, fair and lucrative sales market can develop from it. The project is supported and implemented by Lotao together with an agricultural foundation in Bangarlore, and is funded as part of a funding program by KfW DEG (more information about the funding program: https://www.developpp.de/das-programm-foerderung-fuer -development-partnershipswith-business/)
Development project covers entire production chainThe participating farmers are trained on topics related to the organic and sustainable cultivation of jackfruit, they receive organically grown jackfruit seedlings and are supported during the cultivation and harvesting phase. The program also includes the expansion of local infrastructure and the construction of refrigeration, storage and packaging facilities in the nearest larger city, Bangalore.
Farmers benefit from networks, training offers and planning securityFarmer Ganesh KH is one farmer who will benefit from this project. He lives in a small village in the state of Karnataka in southwest India. The qualified farmer began managing his farm organically 15 years ago and has been a certified organic farmer for 10 years. Above all, he wants to preserve and expand the biodiversity on his farmland through pesticide-free farming and sustainable irrigation. “Through the program I learn a lot about new cultivation and harvesting methods for jackfruit and have contact with many farmers from the region who think like me,” adds the farmer. “I also have a certain degree of planning security thanks to the guaranteed acceptance of the harvested fruit and the sustainable processing,” says the 52-year-old.
Jackfruit research in NeubrandenburgThe scientific support of the project by a research group from Neubrandenburg University is also part of the project, in addition to the development of further products and new strategies for utilizing the harvested and surplus harvest components as livestock feed and as organic compost. Prof. Dr. Großjohann, coordinator of the research project, explains the motivation of the research group: “The problem of the increasing world population combined with an uneven distribution of food availability is a topic that is being addressed in various areas. Because of this, the Neubrandenburg University of Applied Sciences is interested in developing possible new food sources for the European market in addition to training qualified specialists and informing them about their findings.”
Jackfruit burgers, curries, chips and breakfast salads: Lotao brings the harvest to our platesLotao GmbH from Berlin sells a large number of jackfruit products online and in well-stocked organic and food markets in the DACH region, although the team is also aware of its social responsibility: “We have studied the cultivation methods, history and... the ingredients of this Asian fruit,” reports Stefan Fak, founder and managing director of Lotao. “We import products from Asia and therefore assume a great responsibility for the sustainability of our food chain. Through the development project we have the opportunity to help shape the entire value chain from sowing to harvesting to processing, because importing always means a risk in terms of environmental impact. And we want to minimize this risk,” says Fak. Lotao currently sources around 100 tons of portioned fruit pulp from the region every year. During the project period, the volume is to be increased to 300 tons per year. In the long term, up to 500 tons per year could even be made available.
For interview requests (including with the project partners on site) and background information as well as high-resolution images, please contact the Lotao press office. Further information about the Lotao product lines can be found at www.lotao.com . Recipe ideas, videos and current news can also be found in the blog of Lotao founder and Risolier Stefan Fak at www.risolier.com .
About the jackfruit:The jackfruit has its origins in the Western Ghats Mountains, an extremely biologically diverse region of India. It is the largest tree fruit on earth and can weigh up to 15 kilograms. The green, knobby, almost pear-shaped fruit is characterized by a “banana-pineapple” taste when ripe. Harvested when it is unripe, it has a rather neutral taste and its texture is surprisingly similar to poultry meat. Traditionally known as “poor man's fruit,” farmers originally kept only a few trees for their own use. In many cases, the trees that grow wild in the region are not harvested at all and the fruit rots. Due to its richness in vitamins and fiber and the antioxidants it contains, jackfruit is now enjoying increasing popularity among vegetarians and vegans, particularly as a meat substitute, and demand is continuously growing. Compared to other “exotic fashion fruits” such as the avocado, the jackfruit tree is very economical in its water consumption and relatively easy to care for.
About LPP Lotao Pack- und Produktions GmbH
LPP Lotao Pack- und Produktions GmbH, based in Berlin, was founded as Lotao GmbH in 2011 by Stefan Fak. The company is dedicated to exquisite Asian specialties, primarily in organic quality, and sells them on the European delicatessen and organic market. In addition to the “Lotao Deli” rice line, the extraordinary range also includes products made from coconut or sugar. With the jackfruit-based “Lotao Green” product range, Lotao is now conquering the market for meat substitute products. Further information at www.lotao.com.
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