SIRC – Media Watch 01-12-99

Happier, healthier fruit

An article in the Sunday Times, October 24 reported on the use feng shui by many of the major supermarket chains. While feng shui in business is by no means a novel concept, some believe the attempt to harness the ancient Chinese art of chi management to develop a happier, more efficient and attractive vegetable display may be taking western appropriation of eastern culture a little too far. There is some scientific reasoning behind relative positioning of certain perishables as Professor Alfred Bushway, of the University of Maine, New England, points out. Some foods give up ethylene, a gas that accelerates the ripening process of foods around it. A spokesman from one, presumably non-partaking supermarket was a little more cynical: "I see they are avoiding the ultimate challenge, the pear: hard one minute, mush the next. Feng shui that."

The following day the Telegraph suggested that Tesco were about to change the name of one certain exotic fruit. Following the results of a poll that they conducted finding that the popularity of the Sharon fruit was being marred by its association with the Essex girl, the leading supermarket will in the future label it as the Persimmon, the name of the tree on which it grows.