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Drop in the Price of « Palm Heart » in Reunion Island

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Drop in the Price of « Palm Heart » in Reunion Island

Changes in the Market and the Gastronomy

The island of La Réunion is witnessing a significant shift in its culinary landscape. The traditional delicacy, palm heart or « chou de palmiste », is becoming affordable and accessible.

As prices drop, production rises, making this delicate dish available to a wider population and potentially altering the island’s gastronomy, economy, and tourism. Price’s decrease of palm hearts is leading to an evolution in Réunion’s cuisine.

With this traditional dish becoming more affordable, it is expected to broaden its appeal among the island’s residents, potentially inspiring new culinary innovations. Not only this development impact the dining table but also the island’s economy.

«It’s highly demanded for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, so there will always be palm hearts on my stall for the year-end celebrations» , explains Collen Ponapin, a palm heart seller in the east of the island. Edvin Payet, another palm heart producer, affirms: « I sell them throughout the year, but between Christmas 2022 and 2023, the demand has doubled ».

Economic advantages and concerns

The changes in the market dynamics bring potential economic benefits for both consumers and producers. Increased accessibility of palm heart could lead to a rise in demand, thereby triggering economic growth.

However, this price drop raises environmental concerns. As production increases, it becomes more necessary to implement sustainable agricultural practices to preserve the island’s unique biodiversity and cultural significance. White palm heart, the best among the varieties, is sold for about 5 EUR/kg.

While enjoying local cuisine during the year-end festivities is a pleasure in Reunion Island, it’s also a concern. Meeting the demand becomes a challenge for Reunion’s agriculture.

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