Why Is Dragon Fruit So Expensive? (7 Major Reasons)


Pink and yellow dragon fruits on a wooden table

Dragon fruit is one of the most exotic fruits you can find on the grocery store’s shelves, and with that comes the price. Pitaya, also known as dragon fruit, is often very expensive because of many things. The high price of dragon fruit is important to understand to gain newly found respect for the fruit. That said, what is the reason dragon fruits are expensive?

Dragon fruits are expensive because of supply and demand. There is significantly more demand for dragon fruits than supply, increasing the price. Also, heavy advertising, difficult cultivation, long transportation distances, and relatively short shelf life contribute to higher prices.

As you can see, dragon fruits aren’t expensive because of one thing. Many things drive up the prices of pitayas, and when all of them are effective, the final price can rise very high. Now it’s time to examine each variable individually to see how it affects the price and why it makes dragon fruits expensive.

Why Do Dragon Fruits Cost So Much?

Generally, six main factors make dragon fruits expensive. Some of them are more significant than others, so let’s start with one of the most important ones.

1. Dragon Fruit Is an Exotic Fruit

In the United States and most rest of the world, dragon fruits are exotic. The classification for exotic fruit is one that isn’t native to a country and is cultivated outside, available at their place of origin.

Now, something that isn’t available locally and unusual to the consumer always has an extra draw. That’s the same with dragon fruits and other fruits like papayas, durian, jackfruit, etc.

2. Dragon Fruits are Imported

The fact that dragon fruits grow in Southeast Asia and South America is another major factor in their price. Most dragon fruit comes from Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam, to the United States.

Everywhere but the areas dragon fruits grow need to pay hefty transportation fees and taxes to get the delicacy imported to the country. Naturally, this shows in the price, too, as the consumers generally pay back the costs.

Combining demanding storage conditions and the fragile shape of dragon fruits with the long importing journey makes it even more difficult and costly to bring the fruits from foreign lands.

For local people where pitaya is cultivated, the hefty transporting fees won’t affect it, and that’s one reason why dragon fruit is many times cheaper there than in the United States, for example.

3. Supply and Demand of Dragon Fruits

The famous law of supply and demand is at play in the high price of dragon fruit, the same as in the high price of seafood. This essentially means that more people want and are willing to pay for dragon fruit than there are dragon fruits grown and sold. As you can imagine, this is one of the biggest reasons pitayas are expensive.

Many reasons contribute to why dragon fruit is so sought after, such as health benefits, delicious taste, and unique look and feel of having it on the table. In contrast, long growing period, limited growing area, and rough cultivating conditions, among other things, makes the supply lower than bananas, for example.

4. Difficult Cultivation of Dragon Fruits

Did you know that dragon fruits take at least five years to bear their first fruit if grown from the seeds? That’s half a decade, so it isn’t exactly fast to grow pitayas. If the fruit is grown from the cactus cuttings, the process is reduced to one to two years, which is also far from quick.

In addition to the long growing times, dragon fruits require a temperature between 40-80°F (4-26°C), 60-80°F (15-26°C) being ideal. This makes Southeast Asia and South America great for growing dragon fruit.

However, those areas are notorious for droughts, rapid temperature changes, and heavy rain. As a result, many dragon fruits die.

Other than that, dragon fruits grow rather easily within their needed climate. Still, the excruciatingly long growing times certainly grow the price of pitayas.

5. Transportation & Storage of Dragon Fruits

Given that dragon fruits are mainly imported to the United States and most other countries, the transportation distance will be long and difficult, naturally increasing consumers’ prices.

Another problem is the flawless condition pitayas need to be for the final destination. Pitayas, like many other fruits, quickly start to deteriorate when ripe. This means that the dragon fruits need to be shipped well protected and within correct temperatures to remain fresh and undamaged to the buyer.

If dragon fruits are stored at refrigerator temperatures, they will last surprisingly long, approximately two weeks. However, if the cold chain breaks and they spend time at room temperature, they will ripen and ultimately deteriorate in days.

If you’re interested in how to spot the difference between a ripe and bad dragon fruit and storage tips, take a look at my comprehensive guide about it.

6. Dragon Fruits are Heavy Advertised

As a digital marketer myself, I know how much impact advertising can make on a product, item, service, or whatever.

Dragon fruits, as their names may suggest, is a fruit that fascinates and excites people. The bursting pink skin, unique green thors, and clear, smooth white pulp with black edible seeds place the fruit on a pedestal, like the Mona Lisa of fruits.

Naturally, this makes pitayas Instagram-worthy, making people more aware and amazed by them, further creating demand and higher prices.

7. Health Benefits of Dragon Fruits

It’s not all hocus-pocus when it comes to the high cost of pitayas, as there are actual benefits to them.

In addition to the incredible taste of dragon fruits, they are nutrition-packed with vitamins, minerals, and more. It’s not in vain that dragon fruits are considered superfoods. If you aren’t familiar with superfood, it’s essentially a food or ingredient usually low in calories with comparably many beneficial, healthy compounds.

Check out the table below and see what nutrients you will gain from dragon fruits. I’ll explain the benefits of the significant ones below.

NutrientAmount% Daily Value
Calories60gNA
Protein1.1g2.1%
Carbohydrates11g12%
Fat0NA
Fiber3g3.4%
Vitamin B10.04mg2.7%
Vitamin B20.05mg2.9%
Vitamin B30.16mg0.8%
Vitamin C20.5mg34.2%
Calcium8.5mg0.9%
Iron1.9mg10.6%
Phosphorous22.5mg2.3%

According to HealthLine, all of the above nutrients are found in dragon fruits, making them beneficial for the human body. Here are the potential benefits of dragon fruit;

  • Vitamins: The vitamins found in pitayas strengthen the immune system, keeping electrolytes flowing into muscles, breaking down nutrients, boosting brain function, and much more.
  • Minerals: Minerals like calcium, iron, and phosphorus aids the body in many ways, such as making hemoglobin aiding in oxygen transportation, strengthening bones, and overall body function.
  • Prebiotics: Your gut needs prebiotics that feeds a healthy bacteria called probiotics. This maintains a good balance between good and bad bacteria, helping food digestion and fighting against viruses.
  • Low in calories: Low calories yet high nutrients and fibers make dragon fruit a great snack because it keeps you full and replenished for a long time.

There are many things making dragon fruits expensive, and the trend isn’t showing signs of slowing down.

How Much Do Dragon Fruits Cost?

A pile of dragon fruits on top of a leaf

Dragon fruits are expensive because of many things, as we learned. However, the actual prices aren’t necessarily clear if you don’t know the answer. For example, I don’t know exactly how much Bugatti cars cost, but I know they’re expensive. That said, how much do dragon fruits cost?

On average, a single dragon fruit costs $5- $6 in the United States. However, if the crop has been bad, it’s off-season, and the dragon fruit variety is rarer than the average, the prices can get as high as $15. Also, the regular dragon fruit weighs 300-400g, making the price per pound even higher.

Dragon fruits certainly aren’t among the cheapest fruits, and the reason is that USA-grown dragon fruit crops are small and difficult to cultivate. In contrast, the majority of the fruits are imported, making them expensive the same.

At the time of writing, a single dragon fruit costs $5.98 at Walmart. The variety is white dragon fruit, which makes the weight range between 150g to 600g, most of the time 250 to 400g. That said, the price per kilogram (2.2 pounds) is a lot.

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Looking elsewhere than the United States, dragon fruit is expensive in Europe, for example. Exotic Fruits UK sells single white dragon fruits at £5.75, which is $7.19.

Now, look at my comparison below on how expensive pitayas are.

Is Dragon Fruit Expensive?

Price is always relative because people earn different amounts and view money differently. A $20 dinner may be expensive for some, yet that doesn’t cover the appetizers for others. With that in mind, are dragon fruit expensive?

Dragon fruit is considered expensive because it’s much more expensive than other fruits and vegetables. A single dragon fruit costs $5.98 in Walmart, whereas a bigger exotic fruit, papaya, costs $3.19. One orange costs $093, whereas a banana costs $0.23; thus, dragon fruits are expensive.

That said, dragon fruit is very expensive. For reference, you could get exactly 26 bananas at the price of one dragon fruit. Below is a larger comparison of dragon fruit prices compared to other fruits.

I compared different fruit prices to dragon fruit available from Walmart. Take a look at the results

FruitPrice Per Fruit
Dragon Fruit$5.98
Papaya$3.19
Pineapple$2.08
Red Grapefruit$1.38
Orange$0.93
Mango$0.78
Lemon$0.66
Banana$0.23
Fruit price comparison. Source: Walmart

Note that the prices are per single fruit, so you can see that dragon fruits are extremely expensive, especially when you consider that they’re slightly bigger than an apples. Papaya, an exotic fruit the same doesen’t even come close to the price of dragon fruit, even when they are bigger than them.

Dragon fruits certainly are fascinating treats of the earth. Even when they are expensive, I like to eat them sometimes to get a piece of heaven elsewhere that I could never get locally!

Here You’ll Find My Favorite Kitchen Equipment.

Thanks for reading this article! I hope that it brought you real value that you can benefit from in your personal life! Here is my top kitchen equipment that I seriously couldn’t live without, and I think they could ease your life as well as they do mine.

  • Knife set: As a chef, I can’t stand dull, poor-quality knives without any design. My absolute favorite kitchen knife set is the Gangshan 3-Piece Knife Set. It comes with a handcrafted 8″ chef’s knife and a 3.5″ paring knife. What I love even more than these flawless knives is the walnut knife block which is incredible and unique.
  • Skillet: In addition to knives and my unwillingness to bargain with its quality is the cookware. My favorite skillet is Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillet. This particular skillet is 9″ in size, it is heavy, it gets very hot, which is what is required to get a good sear, and it is just beautiful, as are all Le Creuset products. Le Creuset doesn’t need an introduction as a brand, as it is one of the world’s rated brands.
  • Food processor: I remember when I hadn’t a food processor at home. It wasn’t easy! But now, when I use my Ninja BN601 Food Processor, I can make anything super fast, which saves me many hours per week. This food processor has 1000 watts of power and four options, including chopping, slicing, dough, and purees. I also like the middle-sized 9cup (2.1l) bowl as it is big enough yet not too big to look unfitting in my kitchen.
  • Tweezers: Dalstrong Professional Cooking Tweezers are like tongs but much more elegant, thin, and easy to use. They are great for virtually anything, but flipping, turning, and grabbing with them is easy and makes cooking much more fun! These Dalstrgon tongs are titanium coated and very durable. Also, I like the black color instead of the everyday steel.

Interested in how this website was made or how to make your own? Start Here


Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS. While I love writing about food, I also enjoy peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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