The limited number of growers and organized support makes promotion of medjools challenging. However, Datepac located in Yuma, Arizona is making great strides in getting the word out about medjool dates. Datepac was formed by local date farmers in and around the Yuma and Bard valley area. They organized and formed what is now known as the Bard Valley Medjool Date Growers Association (BVMDGA). They pack and distribute medjool dates under the "Natural Delights" brand. They have done a phenomenal job branding, promoting and bringing Medjool dates to the masses here in the states. Their hard work is paying off and the results are showing. They currently own 80% of the medjool date share in the United States and sales are continue to see year-over-year gains - +34% from 2011 to 2014. They have added to their product line in the way of Date Rolls carrying coconut, pistachio and almond.Natural Delights shows no signs of slowing down with aggressive plans for promotion and expansion to further penetrate the U.S. market. They do a fantastic job on there P.O.S. material communicating the health benefits of mejool dates.
A search on Google trends indicates that medjool dates are in fact gaining popularity since 2009 and as of January 2016 has peaked in popularity. Is this due to the great work that the Natural Delight branding team and sales has done? I would bet a deeper look would show parallels in their growth as a company and the popularity increase and consumption of Medjool dates in the US. Goggle research also shows search terms such phrases "Buy Medjool dates" and "Medjool dates benefits" are showing breakout status - indicating the search team grew by 5000% in that time frame.
However, deeper research shows that two other trends could be driving the popularity of the Medjool date search in Google. The Paleolithic diet and Raw Veganism trends show the same growth over the same time frame. Medjool dates are a popular base product in the Veganism lifestyle and the Paleo diet. Its uncanny just how close all three trends resemble each other.
The culinary world has also embraced medjool dates with a passion. We are starting to see more recipes and innovative ways to include medjool dates into culinary delights. Chefs like Anne Burrell, Perry Hendriz and Giada De Laurentiis all have featured their medjool date creations on their blogs and TV shows. The visual attractiveness of the medjool date and sweetness lends itself to be used in many ways. It's not just desserts we are seeing these fruit dates being used in. From appetizers to main dishes, chef's are seeing the versatility of this super fruit. Many restaurants from all over the nation have added stuffed dates as an appetizer.
There is no denying the trends. Medjool dates are on the fast track to becoming more of a mainstream fruit in the US. Will medjool dates ever reach "raisin status"? It remains to be seen, but the momentum and research would indicate that more Americans are turning to the Medjool as a mainstay fruit in their kitchens. Maybe one day the United States will catch the People from Down Under as the leading country of Medjool date consumption.