The world’s smallest citrus fruit – just four cm wide and two cm high – a third the size of its larger cousin – is now available in Britain.
Called clementini, it is being sold at the Tesco supermarket chain which is also offering other small fruits including baby bananas, mini mangoes and fun-sized apples as part of its Christmas range, reports the ‘Daily Mail’.
Marketing experts believe it will appeal to young children because of its peelable skin, absence of pips and high juice content. A store spokesperson said children often find it difficult to eat normal-sized fruit.
And Clementiny could also prove popular with parents looking for something healthy to fill Christmas stockings.
Tesco Citrus buyer Paul Cunningham said: “These little beauties should delight youngsters and parents alike. Not only are they the perfect size for Christmas stockings, but also great for school lunchboxes.
“Smaller portions are great for presenting toddlers with an easy opportunity to peel, pick and eventually eat on their own. The smaller pieces have a richer, fresher flavor and are more aromatic than traditional clementines.”
They are selling at £1.50 per 350g punnet, which includes a dozen fruits.
Clementini originates from the forests of the remote Jiangxi region of southern China and was first cultivated over 1300 years ago. According to mythology, the precious fruit could legitimately be feasted on only by the emperor.
It was unknown outside of China until recently when a Swiss businessman exported it to his home country. Experts say the fruit’s bright orange color comes from the area’s clean water and rich soil, as well as the contrasting day and night temperatures.