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These $60 strawberries have a story, but where is it?  

japan 60 dollar strawbs

AUSTIN, TX—I’m trying really hard to justify this as a work expense, but I don’t think it’s going to fly.  

During his customary lunchtime stroll of H-E-B’s BB #:106490 Central Market in Austin on Thursday, my husband sent me a photo that had my jaw hitting the floor.  

These 9 pink strawberries – air lifted direct from Japan – cost $59.99.  

That’s right, they want $60 for nine strawberries. 

produce with pamela

I’ve noticed a trend of berry companies introducing multiple SKUs in the category lately – think Driscoll’s Sweetest Batch, Sunset’s Lolliberry and Pearberry, which I just bought on a retail tour in Newark, NJ two weeks ago – but this is taking it to a whole new level of super premium.  

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of super expensive, super premium berries, either. Oishii’s Omakase berries are available in the New York City market for a similar price point.  

The thing that struck me about these berries, however, is that they’re just sitting there casually in the berry patch display, with this outrageous price tag and no explanation. In fact, my husband didn’t even notice the price tag. He just saw pink berries and thought I’d be interested.  

I posted the photo on LinkedIn, which sparked a lively discussion. (My connections agree with me that this is definitely a valid business expense, by the way)  

John Paap of Jac. Vandenburg BB #:103960 did some research:  

“These appear to be the Japanese Awayuki strawberry. It’s a rare strawberry only available from certain prefectures including Saga prefecture (located on the island of Kyushu). The name Awayuki translates from Japanese to mean “light snow,” a descriptor that was given in honor of the fruit’s delicate texture and coloring. This particular strawberry is a favored gift in Japan, given for celebrations (like the holidays). Sounds like you found yourself a holiday gift for the strawberry connoisseur in your life!” 

Well, that explains it.  

But that doesn’t explain it for the average Central Market shopper.  

This is a case where we really have to do a better job explaining to consumers why they should drop nearly $7 for a single strawberry.  

Who’s up for a strawberry gofundme?  


Pamela Riemenschneider is Retail Editor for Blue Book Services