NARA, Japan >> With its burgundy hue, the newly developed Yamato Rouge sweet corn has been all the rage on social media, and the company that developed it couldn’t be happier.
Yamato Noen Co., which has been studying and developing crop seeds for more than 100 years, said its new red sweet corn was launched this year and is growing in farms across the country.
Comments on social media compliment its “beautiful color.” Said one comment: “It looks like a precious jewel.”
The corn’s deep red hue, which colors the surface of the kernels, comes from anthocyanin, a pigment that produces blues and reds in plants.
Another virtue of Yamato Rouge is that it can be harvested twice a year — in summer and autumn — unlike standard sweet corn.
According to Kumi Kaneko of Yamato Noen’s product development department, the company decided to develop the red sweet corn about five years ago.
“We wanted to develop something that makes people smile as soon as they shuck it,” said Kaneko.
During the course of the corn’s development, the company faced harsh weather conditions such as drought and torrential rain, but by October 2022, it was able to start selling seeds.
Yamato Rouge garnered attention even before the seeds went on sale. When the company posted a picture of the red corn on Instagram in the spring of 2022, farmers began calling. Yamato Noen decided that about 100 farmers would grow the corn on a trial basis. The farmers submitted reports on their growing techniques, which further promoted the corn.
As a result, some municipalities have begun growing red sweet corn to revitalize their communities.
“I hope Yamato Rouge will continue to make many people smile,” Kaneko said.