Dutch firm develops meat substitute from jackfruit

Jack’s Secret, a Dutch food company operating in both Uganda and the Netherlands, has hired 410 jackfruit trees from 80 farmers in Kayunga district at the cost of sh82m.

Bauke Dekker, the founder and chief executive officer of the burgeoning European brand known as Jack’s Secret Food Group, on Friday told New Vision that they intend to use the jackfruits to produce hybrid food products, among them, a meat substitute.

Connoisseurs call the combination of meat and jackfruit indistinguishable in terms of taste, structure and experience.

“Our goal is to become a European food brand, so eventually all European countries will be involved. Uganda should expect immense impact from us,” Bauke noted.

He said jackfruit has the potential to become the ‘new coffee’ in Uganda, noting that his confidence to invest in Uganda was propelled by President Yoweri Museveni’s State House initiative to protect investors.

He made the remarks on Friday at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala before his team, including the corporation’s country director, Yosia Mubiru, as they embarked on a factory tour in Kayunga on the same day.

The company has existed for about a year, after Bauke arrived in Uganda in July 2023 and partnered with Mubiru to form Jack’s Secret Farming and Production Company Uganda Limited.

The Ugandan subsidiary of the Dutch firm is in its infancy and will commence full production by mid-April, after meeting all government formalities and after all the factory equipment at the Kayunga-based plant is fully installed.

Mubiru is a senior pastor at Ebenezer Miracle Centre in Entebbe, who also works with the energy ministry.

“Every year since 2003, I have been visiting the Netherlands and I have been looking for business opportunities. It was only last year that I got in touch with Bauke Dekker, through Mathias Van Damme,” Mubiru said.

He said it was Bauke’s jackfruit idea that triggered their business relationship which subsequently birthed the Ugandan subsidiary.

“We started implementing our idea in July last year, but we are progressing well; we have 65 registered outgrowers and over 20 factory workers,” he said.

In five years, Mubiru said, they will have a presence in every district in Uganda that grows jackfruit.

“This project is beneficial to everyone, especially mothers and children because we hire trees from families,” he said.


Under the initiative, each farmer is paid sh200,000 per tree for a 10-year period and he or she continues to earn sh1,000 per jack fruit that meets the minimum weight of five kilogrammes.

Unregistered farmers with less than five trees are encouraged to supply the factory through their registered counterparts.

The company’s legal officer, Emmanuel Kiyingi, projected that they will be able to employ at least 1,000 people countrywide, including workers and farmers.

Jack’s Secret is a tasty mix-up of meat and jackfruit, according to Florence Nabukeera Lubega, the production manager.

“Our product does not compromise on taste which guarantees a delicious old-fashioned near flavour.”

Kiyingi believes this venture will improve healthy diets and reduce deforestation with less meat and more fruit.

Kiyingi said part of the proceeds will go into assisting orphans and single mothers to boost their welfare.

These hybrid food products have been adopted on the menus by large-scale caterers and hotel chains in Europe. The production process involves boiling, drying and packaging using vacuum machines.


The farmers New Vision spoke to expressed their gratitude to the firm and said it has boosted their finances with a ripple effect on the entire community.

Christopher Kintu, a 62-year-old farmer, testified that the Dutch business has financially empowered him to buy a vehicle.

“I have benefitted from Jack’s Secret by transforming from riding a bicycle to owning a car,” he said, while showing off his green Toyota Corolla.

Jowelia Musabwa, a 60-year-old farmer, said her 10 jackfruit trees earned her over sh2m which enabled her complete her shell house and have it connected to the national electricity grid.

Source: New Vision

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