Unfamiliar fruits appear on shelves

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Unfamiliar fruits appear on shelves

New breeds of fruit are becoming popular, as consumers look for sweeter and more unique tastes, according to sales data from a major local discount retailer.

E-Mart said on Monday that sales of so-called mango watermelons, watermelons with yellow flesh, rose 100 percent in the first half of this year. This compares with a 20 percent fall in sales of regular watermelons during the same period.

Sales of banapples, a cross between a banana and an apple, rose 86.7 percent, while sales of so-called rose bananas, which have a vanilla flavor, increased by 31 percent. This compares with a 17 percent decline in sales of regular bananas.

“We started selling the new breed of fruits to cater to consumers who are looking for new kinds of fruits and enjoy purchasing them,” an E-Mart official said.

E-Mart said it will offer Nadia plums at its stores starting on Thursday. Also called the cherry plum, it is a hybrid between a cherry and plum. It has the look and coloring of a cherry but is the size of a plum.

Nadia plums are grown in Anseong, Gyeonggi, and Geochang, South Gyeongsang. In 2011, the fruit was named a “strategic export item,” and by 2013, Korea was the first country in Asia to succeed in commercializing them, Emart said.

E-Mart has secured the total domestic output of the crops.

“Once Nadia plums’ planting and production stabilize in Korea - we expect that to be within four to five years - we are thinking of exporting local production overseas,” said Shin Hyeon-woo, a fruit buyer at E-Mart.

“We will work proactively to introduce better tasting fruits in our markets,” he added.

BY PARK JUNG-YOUN [park.jungyoun@joongang.co.kr]
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