S. Koreans' appetite for expensive, unconventional fruit like Shine Muscat grapes prompts farmers to switch crops
Expensive fruits, such as Shine Muscat grapes and apple mangos, are selling briskly in South Korea, prompting farmers to switch to these new crops.
Shinsegae Department Store reported that its Chuseok holiday gift box comprising Shine Muscat grapes and apple mangos soared by 27 percent from the previous year.
It was way higher than the 4.7 percent increase in total sales of fruit gifts.
Shine Muscat is a variety of seedless green grapes with high sugar content developed in Japan.
At E-mart's online shopping mall, a 2.5-kilogram box containing three bunches of Shine Muscat grapes cost 66,600 won, while a 3-kilogram box of top-grade Campbell grapes is sold at 19,500 won.
The highly-priced Shine Muscat grapes accounted for 53.6 percent of E-mart's total grape sales from August of last year to April of this year, increasing 22 percent from the same period last year.
As demand for the Shine Muscat is soaring, their cultivation has also increased to 3,579 hectares this year, nearly doubling from 1,867 hectares in 2019.
Farmers are also increasing the production of apple mangos.
At SSG Food Market, an apple mango weighing 300 grams costs 19,800 won.
However, the transition to "luxury fruit" is also pushing the prices of ordinary fruit as their supply is reduced with more farmers switching to more lucrative options.