Nut rage imploded the career of a Korean Air Lines executive and embarrassed her family and country. Now South Korean retailers are experiencing the unexpected upside: a boom in sales of macadamias.
The flavorful macadamia nut was unfamiliar to many South Koreans until Cho Hyun-ah, the daughter of Korean Air's chairman, ordered a flight attendant off a Dec. 5 flight from New York City after she was served them in a bag, instead of on a plate. The incident made Macadamias a household name in South Korea and with curiosity about their taste piqued, sales are booming. Auction, a South Korean unit of eBay and South Korea's second-largest e-commerce website, said Monday that sales of macadamias surged nearly 12-fold during the previous five days without any promotions. It said macadamias previously made up 5 percent of its nut sales but were now accounting for almost half. South Korea's largest online shopping retailer, Gmarket, also owned by eBay, said Macadamia nut sales jumped 20 times during the six days to Sunday compared with the previous week. The website of e-commerce firm Coupang showed Mauna Loa macadamia nuts had sold out, with about 100 users asking on the comments section for the product to be quickly restocked.
-- The Associated Press