Commodity: Papayas


Commodity Overview

While papayas offer just under $100 million in total produce sales, they can be key to rounding out your tropicals category. Their increasing popularity makes them a great fruit to promote well.


  • Papayas contain many vitamins and minerals that offer a multitude of health benefits. Papayas are a good source of folate, which helps to prevent neural tube birth defects. Papayas contain vitamin C, which has been shown to help prevent cancer. Vitamin A is found in papayas. Vitamin A helps to keep eyes healthy. Eating papaya can help prevent heart disease.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for papayas: fat-free, saturated fat-free, very low-sodium, cholesterol-free, a good source of fiber, high in vitamin C and a good source of folate.
  • The majority of papayas from Hawaii are the genetically modified Rainbow variety to resist ring spot virus, which nearly wiped out production of the fruit in the state. It is one of the only GMO products in the produce department.

Sales Strategies

  • Papayas have several cross-merchandising partners, including lemon juice, lime juice and bagged salads.
  • Papaya, like many tropicals, is available year-round. Market it well throughout the year.
  • Fall: Consider adding papaya to back-to-school promotions as an interesting and tasty addition to sack lunches.
  • Winter: Papaya can be a fun addition to holiday fruit baskets and boxes. Include it in holiday promotions.
  • Spring: Promote papaya as a unique, tasty addition to springtime salads. Promote it as a great option for Easter and Mother’s Day brunches.
  • Summer: Papayas, along with other tropical, are perfect for luau-themed parties. Include papaya in summer grilling promotions as it makes an excellent pairing with meat and seafood.
  • Offer samples to introduce consumers to the sweet taste of papaya as well as to educate them on how to prepare it.
  • Consider offering a single-price promotion for other similarly priced tropical fruits, such as pineapple. This will encourage consumers to mix and match and try something new.

Dynamic Displays

  • Display papayas at room temperature. Make sure consumers know the ripening process will continue at home.
  • Be careful with papayas as they bruise easily. Don’t stack the fragile fruit and avoid dumping it on the display.
  • Place papayas next to mangoes, bananas, pineapples and coconuts to create a large tropicals display.
  • Offer fruit at different stages of ripeness, but be sure consumers know how to choose fruit at the ripeness level they need. Offer information about how to continue ripening a papaya at home by placing it in a dark area at room temperature or in a paper bag with a banana.

Food Service

  • Papaya holds up well, so don’t hesitate to prepare it ahead of time.
  • Add papaya to salads and salad bars.
  • Offer papaya as a sweet addition to breakfast bars.
  • Include papaya in stir-fry dishes. Its sweet flavor holds up well to cooking.
  • Papaya contains the enzyme papain, which is a natural meat tenderizer, so include it in meat marinades.
  • A hollowed-out papaya shell makes an attractive and interesting bowl for other items, such as chicken or shrimp salad, yogurt, ice cream or fruit salad.

In The Backroom


22-lb. cartons 10-lb. cartons RPC – NA Counts range from 6 to 14


Temperature: 50 to 55 F, 10 to 12.8 C Relative humidity: more than 80% Mist: no Typical shelf life: 3 to 5 days Ethylene producer (Do not store or transport ethylene-sensitive items with commodities that produce ethylene.) Susceptible to chilling injury (Damage sometimes is not apparent until produce is returned to a warmer temperature.) Papayas ripen in two to three days when held at temperatures between 55 to 65 F, 12.8 to 18.5 C. Never store a papaya that is less than half ripe below 45 F, 7 C. Lower temperatures stop the ripening process. When ripe, the fruit can be refrigerated.


Fresh Trends

Nutrition Labels


One medium papaya = 1¼ to 1½ cups peeled, sliced, seeded fruit

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