Miniature fruits and vegetables are surging in popularity amid a rise in the number of single or two-person households who don't need a huge amount of food and seek dishes that are easy to prepare.
Supermarket chain Lotte Mart started selling a selection of miniature fruits and vegetables in May.
"Mini watermelons sold well last year, so we expanded our sales items this year to include a wide range of mini fruits and vegetables such as mini onions, mini bananas and small eggplants," a Lotte Mart staffer said.
The miniature foods are popular because they are easy to prepare. Regular shiitake mushrooms need to be cut before cooking, for example, but their mini versions can be cooked as they are.
Midget cucumbers are usually used to make pickles in Western countries. Hikers love them because they are thirst quenching and easy to carry. Small mild-flavored onions, also known as shallots, are a quarter the size of regular onions and sweeter in flavor. They are also an excellent choice for children who don’t like onions. Mini bell peppers, which are the size of cherry tomatoes, are easy to prepare because all the seeds are clustered at the top.
The rise of single households is the primary factor behind the popularity of the mini foods, which are small enough to finish alone. For example, apple-sized watermelons are popular as they can be eaten one at a time.
"Changes in lifestyle patterns and eating habits mean increased demand for mini fruits and vegetables, and the trend seems likely to continue," said food critic Kang Ji-young.