The origin of square watermelons dates back to 1978 when Japanese farmer Tomoyuki Ono began thinking of ideas to transport watermelon more easily and in less space. Currently, his solution is all the rage among the wealthiest sectors in Asia.
The square shape of the fruit is not the result of any genetic study, but of a non-traditional cultivation technique: during the fruit's growth process, in full ripening, it is introduced into a mould, which in this case is squared-shaped, to which the fruit adapts as its volume increases. This allows shaping the fruit in the most diverse forms and with its own seal.
These square-shaped watermelons are marketed in Asia as a luxury product and cost three times as much as traditional watermelons; their prices range between 300 to 600 dollars. They mainly have an ornamental value, as their taste and nutritional value is not different than that of the traditional watermelons.
This type of fruit is especially coveted within the Japanese market, where giving fruits is a symbol of respect and affection, and the value of these gifts is proportional to the level of esteem.
The success of square watermelons has extended this peculiar cultivation technique to other fruits and vegetables. The Fruit Moulds company internationally markets heart-shaped apple moulds and pumpkin moulds with the face of Trump or Frankenstein, among others. They also sell square moulds for oranges, pears, apples, and more. One of the most exotic is a Buddha mould used to shape pears.
In addition to revolutionizing the consumption of fruits, this technique has become a great alternative to give added value to fruits that has led to their sales peaking in the main markets of the world.