As Singaporeans, we give gifts to both our family and friends, colleagues as well as business contacts on numerous occasions within a year. Being Asians, gifting is part of our culture to show care, concern and appreciation for the recipients. One example would be the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival where many of us will shop for mooncakes as gifts. The Japan Fruit and Vegetable Export Council (J-FEC) together with Japan Food Products Overseas Promotion Center (JFOODO) is happy to offer everyone a refreshing and much healthier gifting option that is available all year round – fresh fruits from Japan! Michelle Chong attended their recent event to share her love for the unmatched quality and taste of Japanese fruits, and to show everyone that Japanese fruits are not only good for daily consumption but also a perfect gift for all occasions!
The event started with a virtual opening address by Mr. Yoshihisa Hishinuma, Chairman of J-FEC and the organizer of this event. He proudly said, “The reason why the taste, quality, safety and security of Japanese fruits are highly appreciated around the world is because of the artisanship of the producers who care for them, and they are ideal as gifts and souvenirs for your loved ones. I hope that everyone who attends this event will enjoy the wonderful taste of Japanese fruits and share the stories with their consumers!”
Michelle Chong’s Love For Japanese Fruits
Michelle Chong was invited as a special talk show guest because of her adoration of Japanese Fruits. She candidly shared that fresh Japanese fruits are always high up on her shopping list whenever she visits supermarkets and retailers that carry them. When asked specifically what she loved about Japanese fruits, she highlighted four characteristics of six Japanese fruits, namely apples, grapes, peaches, citrus fruits, strawberries, persimmons, and processed persimmons showcased at the event.
1. Good Appearance Of Japanese Fruits
To make the mark as an exquisite gift, presentation matters. Japanese fruits are a pleasure to the eyes and it takes little packaging to transform them into attractive gifts for any occasion. For the dedicated Japanese producers, the secret to growing and harvesting beautiful fruits that are large, shapely, pretty and glossy is to treat everyone single one of them as a work of art. That is the famed “artisanship” of the Japanese producers where fruit culture is turned into an art form and producers pay exceptional care to the colour and shape of each individual fruit.
The talk show host shared with everyone that the secret to producing beautiful fruits is to treat each and every fruit as a work of art. Each fruit is individually bagged to protect it from strong wind and intense sunlight. Producers will take note to only leave carefully selected fruits on branches. This allows each fruit to continue to nurture and mature into taut and chunky treasures with full of concentrated sweetness. The process of picking buds, picking flowers, picking fruits, and picking grains to preserve carefully selected fruit may be labour-intensive but it is essential for growing beautiful fruits.
2. Great Taste Of Japanese Fruits
Quality Japanese fruits are also famed for their low acidity and high sugar content. Its distinctive sweetness, juiciness and good balance between acidity and sugar content make it a popular post-meal bite that is well-loved by both the young and old.
The secret behind the sugar concentration is a technique called moisture stress. Japanese producers use rainfall-blocking sheeting to cover the ground under the tree in summer to retain ground moisture. Other than the deployment of this technique, fruit trees’ layout arrangements taking into consideration of terrain steepness as well as the optimisation of fertilizer distribution are carefully planned to leverage on the diversity of Japan’s climate.
3. Abundance Of Japanese Fruits Varieties Anytime Of The Year
If you are ever worried about running out of fruit options to present as gifts, don’t fret. Japanese producers offer different fruit options across different seasons.
Take the humble apple as an example. Did you know that 2,000 types of apples grow in Japan? The country is overflowing with a massive range of variety for different fruits. Check out the chart below to see which fruits to prepare as gift across the year.
The abundance of variety and choices is the beauty of Japan’s distinct four seasons which offer you a wide variety of choices for the perfect gift.
4. New Japanese Fruits Variety Development & Improved Breeding
Japanese farmers have a keen interest in research and are driven by the desire to produce better quality produce every season. Through these researches and trials, their produces improve year on year in variety, appearance and taste. An example is the Japanese strawberries. They come in a variety of colours, are well-loved all over the world and it is said that more than half of the world’s strawberry varieties originated from Japan.
5. Ease Of Eating Japanese Fruits
Everyone prefers convenience when it comes to enjoying fruits. Our thoughtful Japanese producers understand that as well. When they are producing the nationally and internationally popular Shine Muscat, they went beyond the luxurious appearance, intense sweet flavour, and fresh and unique aroma of Muscat. They carefully manage the size of each grape to ensure it is large, perfectly balanced, has a skin that is crispy and edible, and most importantly each grape is seedless. A gem of the Japanese fruit world, this wonderful grape from Japan is a Must-Try!
The talk show was a delightful reminder that Japanese fruits makes for the perfect gift and souvenir. Michelle commented that the shine muscats were extremely beautiful in appearance, with a great aroma and taste that lingered on the tongue. She also said that the kyoho grapes were juicy, sweet and tasty. Michelle was impressed that the sizes of the grapes were uniform. She added that the peaches were amazing and had just the right texture, with the complex interplay of flavours well-balanced.
Michelle added, “I think that anyone who receives such wonderful fruits as a gift will be very happy, and the gift will show that the giver cares about the recipient very much. I have had the experience of giving Japanese fruits to many loved ones, and they have been delighted to receive them. I highly recommend everyone to give Japanese fruits as a gift for both casual and special occasions.”
Always Look For Japan-grown Fruit label
In the talk session, “Japan-grown Fruit label,” a unified brand mark that identifies Japanese produce, as well as the key visual for this promotion were introduced. The “Japan-grown Fruit label “is a symbol of Japanese fruits and a brand mark established by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as a unified brand mark for exports of Japanese fruit so that overseas buyers and consumers can identify high-quality Japanese products in overseas markets. So remember to check for this mark of distinction the next time you shop for Japanese fruits!
Michelle Chong and the participating media guests had a chance to enjoy peaches (Akatsuki) and grapes (Shine muscat and Pione), which are at peak season for the year. We had a comment from Michelle that the fruits were fantastic and fresh.
Japanese Fruits Business Partners & Upcoming Campaigns
After the tasting, the retailers (members of the Council and its partners) which will be selling Japanese fruits introduced themselves and highlighted information on their upcoming in-store campaigns. In addition, Aomori Prefectural Apple Council presented a video presentation of their proud produce.
This event will serve as the starting point for a sales promotion in local retail stores where Japanese fruits are sold. The organiser will continue to promote the Japan-grown Fruit label and its key visuals to consumers. In addition, a variety of content, including videos highlighting the artisanship of Japanese fruit producers, will be released on the campaign website and through social media to introduce Japanese fruits to more Singaporeans.
Given the quality, variety, appearance and taste of Japanese fruits, we believe that trend of gifting fruits as an alternative will soon catch on as Singaporeans become more health-conscious and wish to do something special for loved ones. These gifts can be for your beloved ones, friends you want to thank for their kindness, seniors you wish to show respect to, or even gift to yourself as a reward for your own hard work or achievements.
To find out more about Japanese fruits and stay abreast with the latest updates, visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. Remember to check out the Japan-grown Fruit label the next time you visit your grocer!