Imported Japanese Grapes Sell for 229 Dollars a Box
JAPAN & SINGAPORE - $12,000 melons, $3,000 mangos, and now $2,800 for grapes? Hearing about all these expensive Japanese produce purchases, you may think to yourself, “How can these fruits be worth almost as much as a car?” You may just be able to find the answer from Singaporeans, who are clamoring for Japanese fruits today more than ever.
News source Straits Times recently went in depth to interview Japanese supermarket, Isetan’s Division Merchandising Manager Lim Tay Beng, who estimated that Singaporeans, in particular, make up 80 to 90 percent of its produce customers. He says that many of the Singaporean customers buy them as corporate gifts.
"They are big names in the business scene. They usually purchase hundreds of dollars worth of Japanese fruits per visit," Lim told the Straits Times.
Kurihara Satoshi, Manager of Isetan Supermarket's fruit section, added, "We just had a regular customer who bought 12 boxes of muscat grapes at $229 per box.” This roughly equals $2,800 just for one purchase of grapes.
As it turns out, it’s the sweetness and the growing practices of these fruits that truly makes them unrivaled in the world of produce.
Shiraishi Shinji, Head Chef and Owner of Japanese restaurant Shiraishi at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore hotel, said it is the natural sweetness of Japanese fruits that makes them so delicious. He explained, ”To produce fruits of such high quality, Japanese farmers will prune off excess buds so that each plant or tree produces a limited number of fruits. For example, a melon plant may have 20 buds, but farmers will remove most of them so only eight remain. This means the fruits will get the maximum amount of nutrients."
Jessie Kok, a Singaporean mother said she chooses Japanese fruits for her family because they are sweeter and one can be assured of their quality. Even her 15-month-old son can taste the difference, she told the Straits Times.
"The first strawberries he tasted were Japanese, and he enjoyed them," she said. "But when we bought American strawberries, he made a very funny face after eating them.”
Will the United States be the next country to sing the praises of this expensive Japanese produce? If Singapore is any indication, it may happen sooner than you think.