Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 94 of 139

Linh Tran isn't just making juice from the Gac fruit, she is helping create a bigger market for this nutrition-rich powerhouse and a more sustainable business model for impoverished Vietnamese farmers. BY SARA KAY XOI: The Fruit of Its Efforts Gac fruit has a low growing cost, and while it doesn't naturally grow everywhere in Vietnam, it can flourish in many locations. giving back A look at suppliers and buyers who are making a difference through their business philosophies, models, or charitable efforts. W hile studying at Brown University, Linh Tran hadn't planned on launching a busi- ness focused on Vietnamese farmers and local fruit, but an academic research project helped inspire her career. As a sophomore in the summer of 2013, Tran traveled back to her homeland of Vietnam as part of a college project on economics and development, focused on ethnic inequalities and economic disparity. Of the 55 ethnic groups in Vietnam, says Tran, 90 percent of the popula- tion falls into one group—the Kinh—while the other 10 percent is spread among 54 groups which account for 68 percent of the country's extremely poor. Inspired to write a research thesis on these minority groups, Tran returned a year later to the central highlands of Vietnam to live with—and learn more about—some of these groups. During her time there, she was re-introduced to the Gac fruit, which is locally grown in large supply, and began to be intrigued about the commercial potential of this histori- cally medicinal fruit and how it can help these impoverished groups. Understanding the Gac Magic "Growing up in Vietnam, I had heard of the Gac fruit before, but I didn't know it had all these other health benefits," says Tran. "The fruit itself has a thick skin, and the inside is like a melon. In daily life, people mix the fruit PHOTOS: XOI 92 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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