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Koreans find new taste for avocado

Posted October. 03, 2017 08:31,   

Updated October. 03, 2017 08:39

Avocados, often referred to as “butter of the forest,” are enjoying popularity in Korea. Restaurants specializing in avocados are sprouting, and there is even an avocado gift set for the Chuseok holidays.

A retail industry insider said Monday that Lotte Department Store showcased an avocado gift box for Chuseok. The gift set consists of six avocados, an avocado oil and an avocado cutter, and the price is 50,000 won. Hyundai Department Store also launched an avocado and mango gift box composed of eight avocados and four mangoes.

Lotte Department Store imported avocados from Mexico – the biggest avocado exporter – to launch the gift box. Lotte was able to cut off the price around 10 to 15 percent compared to American avocados, which account for the majority of domestic avocado imports. A cutter is also included in Lotte’s gift box for those who have no idea how to cut the fruit. “We launched an avocado gift box to meet the various demands of customers and to give them a new and affordable gift option,” said Lotte Department Store’s fruit buyer In Chi-hyeon.

This gift set dedicated only to avocados was launched because of the steep increase in sales. According to E-Mart, sales of imported avocados for the first nine months of this year reached 4.1 billion won, a 141.2 percent increase from 1.7 billion won year-on-year. Considering that E-Mart’s fruit sales increase was 1.5 percent over the same period, avocados certainly stand out. Sales of avocados have been on the stable rise, whose ranking rose to 6th this year from 10th last year and 11th in 2015, in the imported fruit sales of Lotte’s warehouse style discount store Big Market

Avocado’s popularity is noticeable, but some believe that it will take some time until it becomes more common. “Avocado is becoming more popular because its unsaturated fatty acids reduce cholesterol level and help cleanse blood vessels,” an industry insider said. “But the price is still high and not many consumers find it affordable.” Currently avocados are sold at 14,000 won per kilogram.

Eun-Seo Park clue@donga.com