They look clever, but not all shoppers like the price tag
Japan has again shown off one of its greatest innovations – square watermelons.
For years consumers struggled to fit the large round fruit in their refrigerators.
The round watermelon is unlikely to go out of favour
And then there was the problem of trying to cut the fruit when it kept rolling around.
But 20 years ago a forward-thinking farmer on Japan’s south-western island of Shikoku solved the problem.
The farmer, from Zentsuji in Kagawa prefecture, came up with the idea of making a cube-shaped watermelon which could easily be packed and stored.
To make it happen, farmers grew the melons in glass boxes and the fruit then naturally assumed the same shape. Today the cuboid watermelons are hand-picked and shipped all over Japan.
But the fruit, on sale in a selection of department stores and upmarket supermarkets, appeals mainly to the wealthy and fashion-conscious of Tokyo and Osaka, Japan’s two major cities.
Each melon sells for 10,000 yen, equivalent to about $83. It is almost double, or even triple, that of a normal watermelon.
“I can’t buy it, it is too expensive,” said a woman browsing at a department store in the southern city of Takamatsu.
They get square watermelons by growing them inside of square glass cases. That way they can fit easily into an overcrowded refrigerator, and you can stack things on them.
Square watermelons are expensive though (10,000 yen or about $82). Compare that to regular round watermelons which cost about $15-20 in Japan.
The square boxes they’re grown in are the exact dimensions of Japanese refrigerators, which means they fit perfectly. At $82 each, these square watermelons probably wouldn’t be too popular in the United States. Our solution for a lack of refrigerator space? Smaller, seedless watermelons.