October 5, 2003 TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese retail giant Aeon Co. Ltd. will begin to sell quarter-size cabbages, half-size radishes and other dwarf vegetables next month to cater to increasing numbers of people living alone. AFP/File Photo Aeon made the decision after seeing robust demand during sales trials of a half-size version of Japanese radishes at several stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area, company spokeswoman Naoko Ueda said Thursday. The new vaierty of radish, which are roughly 20-25 centimetres (eight-10 inch) long, was developed with Syngenta Seeds of Switzerland, she said. It is named "Aji Ichiban (Taste Number One)". Aeon will start selling the radish in early November at some 270 directly-operated Jusco stores. Quarter-size Chinese cabbages, which weigh about 800 grammes (1.8 pounds) each, will also be launched in late November. "We are also planning to launch mini pumpkins and burdocks" although it is yet to be decided when they will make their debuts, she said. "A growing number of people, especially in urban areas, live alone and they cannot consume large vegetables by themselves," she said. Japanese supermarkets sell cut vegetables but they do not remain fresh very long. "Smaller vegetables also save stores wrapping costs," as cut vegetables have to be wrapped in cellophane, she said. Smaller breeds are also good news for Japan's ageing farming population as they are easier to harvest, she said. About 41 percent of households in Tokyo comprised only one person in 2000, according to the latest census.
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