Market Monday: The most expensive strawberries in the world?

23 Apr

NPR listeners (I’m guessing there’s more than a few of you in the SOK readership) may have caught a recent story about how most (if not all) of the beef advertised as “Kobe” in the US is not actual Kobe beef, which is far too expensive (and fatty) to ever be caught dead in the guise of a hamburger. I’ve never eaten real Kobe beef, but I did see it for sale at a department store food hall on my last visit. I tried to take a photo, but the salesperson wouldn’t let me; perhaps she was afraid the lens would sully the meat. (How expensive is it? For a top-quality chateaubriand filet, one place is selling it at ¥16,800 for 200 g, or about $400 USD per pound.)

However, there was no one to prevent me from taking photos of other heinously expensive food items, including what I believed to be the world’s most expensive strawberries…

Strawberries in a jewelry-worthy display

…Until I came back the next week and found these beauties:

The first set are priced at ¥945 ($12), the second at ¥1050 ($13), per strawberry. That’s right. Each strawberry costs over $10; a nice boxed set, such as you might send as a gift (because that’s the only purpose for fruit of this caliber; no one buys this stuff to eat at home) could easily buy you, say, a quarter pound of top-end genuine Kobe beef.

It’s been 20 years since the end of the bubble era in Japan, but luxury fruit seems to exist in a bubble of its own. For a glimpse into how a $10 strawberry comes to fruition, and why on earth it would sell, check out this BBC story.

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