Vol 120 (2007): Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society
Krome Memorial Institute (Tropicals)

The potential of Florida lychee to cross over to American consumers: an industry perspective

A. R. Rafie
University of Florida
Published December 1, 2007
  • Litchi chinensis,
  • 'Chen Purple',
  • 'Brewster',
  • 'Mauritius',
  • tropical fruit


Lychee (Litchi chinensis) is an exotic subtropical fruit crop and is considered economically important for many Asian countries. In 2006, approximately 800 acres of lychee were grown in South Florida, mostly in Miami-Dade County. Florida lychees are only available from late May to early July and are mainly sold fresh to Asian markets, mostly along the east coast of the United States. Recent consumer tastings indicated that the majority of those who tried a sample of lychee fruit said they liked it. With such a positive acceptance of lychee by consumers, the question for many industry people, including growers and shippers, has been quot;Why is lychee not as popular among American consumers as mango and pineapple?quot; A survey to answer this question was conducted among growers, packers, shippers, wholesalers, and retailers doing business with lychee. Respondents indicated that "lack of year-round availability," "lack of consumer awareness," and "lack of sufficient investment in promotion and advertising" are the main reasons lychee fruit is not as popular among American consumers as other tropical fruits.