Australian fruit brands promise items found in strawberries will be ‘more fun’ from now on

Strawberries have traditionally contained more strawberry.

Strawberries have traditionally contained more strawberry.

Australian fruit brands affected by the recent spate of needles found in their strawberries are attempting to win back customers by promising that items found in their fruit will be “much more fun” from now on, and while there was still an unfortunate risk that you might find a needle in your strawberry, there would also be a “pretty decent chance” you might “find something neat” instead.

The strawberry needle scare threatened to spread to New Zealand this week, after a needle was found in a Choice brand punnet of strawberries from an Auckland Countdown, sparking fears that panic could begin affecting sales here.

But Australian growers are now hitting back, atempting to drum up demand by balancing out the risk with an incentive.

A spokesperson for Countdown, which sources the Choice strawberries from Western Australia, said it will be restocking the brand shortly, with the assurance that there would now be “all kinds of great items” in the fruit.

“No one wants to find a needle in their strawberry,” said Countdown’s Mary Davis, “but what about a tiny Boba Fett? Or some MDMA?”
Kevin Tran, the boss of Berry Obsession and Berry Luscious – two other brands implicated in the needle saga – said he would be instructing his fruit pickers and packagers to take a “similar approach.”

“‘Fun’ isn’t really the right word,” he said, “but we’ll certainly be looking to put more useful items in the strawberries, like matches or screws.”

Tran said the feedback to the needles found inside his strawberries had been “generally negative.”

“You do get the odd person who was a little light on sewing needles, and said ‘Hey, thanks Kevin’, but then for everyone like that there’s someone else who got a needle lodged in the roof of their mouth, so at best, it’s probably a wash.”

It remains to be seen whether putting a wider, more helpful variety of items in fruit will drive customers back to the shelves, but one former Whittakers employee was optimistic for the brands, saying that New Zealanders would buy food with “pretty much anything in it.”