Chinese develop a taste for 'butter fruit'

Updated: 2015-07-01 16:33


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Chinese retailers advertise the fruit to people wanting to lose weight or to those suffering from skin ailments, asthma and hypertension.

Zi Jing, owner of a fruit shop chain in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, says avocado is ideal for infants because it is nutritious, soft and low in sugar. "Parents always complain it is difficult to find a suitable fruit for babies," says Zi. "Avocado is a very good choice."

She began feeding her baby girl avocado in 2011, despite it being rare and extremely expensive in a second-tier inland city at that time. "But parents don't begrudge the money spent on their children," she says.

An avocado in her shop normally costs 7 or 8 yuan - more than one U.S. dollar.

The most expensive avocados are those shipped directly from overseas to the customer's door at a cost of 12.5 yuan - more than four times the price in a Mexican market.

Retailers argue their markup is minimal as the 20-percent import tax and the sophisticated logistics required also contribute to the high cost.


Zhao Guozhang also attributes the surge in avocado sales to e-commerce and social media. "Customers can quickly get any information on a fruit online, much faster than they can at grocery counters."

On Chinese social media, avocado is pictured with Western staples such as toast, salad or dairy products, or it complements expensive delicacies like salmon, shrimp, pasta and sushi, and other imported fare that is a growing feature of Chinese supermarkets and eateries.

However, smart chefs are creating new avocado dishes in a Chinese way. Recipes involving rice and light soy sauce have gone viral online.

Zhao is working with chefs to put the fruit into Chinese specialties: "I have eaten wontons with avocado inside - they taste very special, with a slight fragrance."


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