Enter the Dragon Fruit
Since 2008, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a rule allowing dragon fruit shipments to be imported from Vietnam, the subtropical fruit has infiltrated America's consciousness—and the economy. With supply increasing, demand has continued to rise. Last year, 865 tons of the fruit were imported to the U.S. from Vietnam (eight times more than 2009), according to Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and exporters believe that number will swell to 1,500 tons this year. Dragon fruit's growing stateside popularity, and surging market power, can largely be attributed to its health benefits. Rich in vitamin C, phosphorus, and calcium, it's believed to help control high blood-sugar levels, promote dental health, and prevent cancer. But that doesn't explain how it's morphed into paint, shower gel, and fabric refreshers.