New strawberry variety "Yuyake Berry" to hit market in late December

Photo: Logo design created on the concept of a "shining strawberry that can communicate the thoughts of Fukushima"Photo: Large, brilliant red "Yuyake Berry"

The Fukushima prefectural government has named a new locally developed strawberry variety "Yuyake Berry" (evening glow berry), Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori announced at a regular press conference on Sept. 20. Code-named "Fukushima ST No. 14," it is the first new strawberry cultivar developed by the prefecture in about 20 years. The new strawberry is scheduled to go on sale in late December with a debut event planned in the prefecture. Its large size, roughly equivalent to that of a 500-yen coin, and high quality have led the local government to adopt a strategy of launching it at a high price point during the Christmas holiday season when demand for strawberries generally grows. High pricing strategy eyed, consumer tours, logo design to lead sales promotion It took the prefecture 10 years to develop the new cultivar, starting with research for hybridization of the two existing varieties -- "Kaorino" and "Tochiotome" -- in 2012. What makes Yuyake Berry attractive is its sweetness and fragrance coupled with a high proportion of large-sized and well-shaped berries. It can be harvested from mid-December, about a week earlier than Tochiotome, making it possible for it to be shipped in time for the holiday period around Christmas as well as the year-end and New Year. Yuyake Berry will be planted in a 0.6-hectare area this fiscal year to bring a harvest of an estimated 18 tons. It will be planted across the entire prefecture by fiscal 2025 with a view to attaining a total planting area of 10 hectares or more. The brand name was picked from among 17,732 entries that arrived from across Japan. Yuyake Berry is the work of Kyoko Niita, a 74-year-old resident of the Fukushima Prefecture city of Motomiya. The logo design was done on the advice of creative director Michihiko Yanai, a native of Koriyama city. Art director Koichi Kosugi played a role as the supervisor for the logo design, which was made on the concept of a "shining strawberry that can communicate the thoughts of Fukushima." The prefecture is set to begin promotional campaigns for Yuyake Berry through monitoring tours by consumers and widespread use of the logo design, seeking to raise the public awareness of the new brand and help drive sales. "We will sell it first in our prefecture as Fukushima's original brand aimed at a high price band," Uchibori said. "From next year on, hopefully we will sell it in the domestic market widely." (Translated by Kyodo News)