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Taiwan is known as the kingdom of fruits with its sweet fruits being popular among consumers. However, in recent years, the fruits are becoming too sweet. Not only have they nearly lost their natural tastes, people have even obtained high blood glucose levels due to the overly sweet fruits. The Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) will do a research on the sweet and sour ratio of different fruits to retrieve the original taste of the fruits as well as making them healthier.

UDN reports, Director of TARI Chen Ji-jun says that decades ago the fruits in Taiwan were relatively not sweet compared with the fruits we have now. Therefore, Taiwanese consumers always believe the myth that sweeter fruits mean better quality. These fruits boost demand and farmers try to make the fruits even sweeter to meet the consumers’ needs.

Chen says that within a few years the sweetness of grapes has risen four to five degrees. When the fruit is too sweet it covers its original sourness, and thus loses its genuine flavor.

As for how to adjust the degree of sweetness and sourness, Chen says the technology management has becoming increasingly more mature in terms of controlling the sweetness of fruits. With the control of moisture, lighting and breeding, they can increase flavor in the fruits. At the same time they will also promote the idea that there are more tastes other than sweetness that can make the fruits tasty.

Chen says if we want to export our fruits overseas, we must learn to customize them. Chen gives an example saying that in tropical countries, locals generally do not like to eat sweet fruits due to the hot weather. Instead, they prefer sour ones more.

Facebook page Wenqing Bie Guiche says it’s always the market mechanism that decides what kind of fruits the farmers grow. If the market really starts to prefer sour fruits, the farmers will change their farming methods in response and the government does not need to be concerned.

The Facebook page says improving the quality of fruits and vegetables has been the key goal for the development of agricultural technology. Older people all know that thirty or forty years ago, Taiwan’s wax apples were very unpalatable. But later on, due to the efforts of the farmers, wax apples have become one of the fruits Taiwan is most proud of. Although wax apples originate from Southeast Asia, they are only tasty when grown in Taiwan.

The page also says that, similarly, the flavor of traditional tomatoes was not tasty before. But Taiwan has developed a unique kind of tomato with the technology of the farmers so that the tomato’s degree of sweetness can reach up to 13 degrees, far higher than Japan’s eight degrees. If Taiwan’s fruits are not sweet enough, will the officials of the Council of Agriculture dare to brag that Taiwan’s agriculture is competitive?

Another Facebook page, Lin bay, stresses that in general, raising the sweetness of fruits means the decline in the amount of produce. Take tomatoes for example, the Dutch has done research showing that when the degree of sweetness of the greenhouse tomato is raised, the production volume will go down.

The page asks why farmers grow fruits with high degree of sweetness but low production volume and not the other way around. This shows the market trend.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang