It’s not news that high quality produce is expensive and hard to find, and it’s not fair that it costs so much to eat healthy. Fresh produce is expensive and goes bad quickly. It takes a lot of money to keep fruits and vegetables constantly rotating in your refrigerator, or in your refrigerator at all. At a certain point, buying fruits and vegetables may feel like a luxury you cannot afford, especially with the cost of living outpacing wages. That's where the term food luxury comes in. Food luxury is when food, specifically produce, becomes less affordable or harder to come by. A 2023 survey and study done by the Food Institute found that 62% of respondents called healthy food “a luxury,” and that a healthy diet costs on average about $550 more per person, per year.

But in 2024, the produce gap could get worse. At the end of December of 2023, TikTok user @kfesteryga (a user studying the climate’s effect on food, per their bio) predicted that food luxury would be a trend of 2024, and that flowers on tables would be replaced by fruit in advertising campaigns specifically for show, and not to eat. Just a few days ago, she posted a video on how the Kardashians proved her right in just one month. The video already has almost one million views in three days.

The Kardashians start the fruit as decor trend.

On her Instagram story this week, Kim Kardashian posted a photo of a table centerpiece at her long time friend Allison Statter’s birthday party. The centerpiece consisted of a couple of carnations on a stand decorated with a lush assortment of berries, grapes, and apples. Statter also shared the elaborate centerpieces in her own Instagram post displaying multiple fruitscapes down a long table. Of course, we know that Kim didn’t make or buy these herself, but the sentiment is still the same: A-listers and other lavishly-living celebrities of maximal wealth have the disposable income to buy fruit just for show. You could claim that maybe they did eat the fruit, but this is a dinner party, most likely prepared by an incredible chef. No one is going to fill up on the centerpiece.

Photo via @allisonstatter/Instagram

Another aspect that adds to the cost is that grapes are not currently in season (their peak season is from August to October), so they would have to have been imported from a country with a more neutral climate. These things might seem trivial, but it really does hint at a dystopian binary where some people can't afford to eat healthy produce all the time all year round, and some can use it as pretty decoration.

Kim isn’t the only Kardashian using fruit as decor. In the beginning of this year, Khloé Kardashian posted a photo of a bright citrus flower bouquet on her Instagram story. I know what you’re thinking — this fruit bouquet is not just an edible arrangement. The flower bouquet contained a bunch of orange and yellow roses, a few decorative greens, and cut up oranges — because why not. 

Photo via @khloekardashian/Instagram

In 2023, a terrible orange shortage due to weather in Florida caused orange juice prices to rise 12.5%. This incident reminds me of Khloé’s “fruit bowl” incident that aired in 2016 in Keeping Up With the Kardashians (season 12 episode 21, to be exact). Kourtney and Kendall criticized Khloé for having a massive bowl of fruit, telling her that “people in Africa are starving,” and that she would never eat it all. Khloé claimed that she had fruit every day for breakfast, a smoothie in the afternoon, and that she planted trees to grow the fruit herself. She even tells Kourtney that she can’t have a peach because “there’s not enough.” But I have to agree, do you really need that giant bowl of fruit, Khloé?

But other celebs are doing it, too.

Another A-list example of this trend is last year’s Grammy awards. At the very end of the show, John Legend played a piano entirely covered with fruit in a performance with DJ Khaled and Fridayy. All of this fresh fruit for a performance that lasts for a few minutes, just to be thrown away afterwards.

And now, it's made its way into weddings and parties.

Though the Kardashians and other celebs have quite a bit of influence on pop culture, there are other indications that fresh produce is a luxury meant for decor. Fruit centerpieces have taken over wedding websites, which show brides how to incorporate fruit into their flower arrangements or replace them with fruit all together. Fruit is becoming a delicacy and a decoration in the same way that flowers already are, especially with dinner parties trending.

Fruit is visually appealing, I don’t deny that. The problem is that it’s hard and expensive enough to purchase healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables, so when they are purchased, they should be eaten and not thrown away. Flexing gluttony and excess when it comes to fruit is a really ugly look, because nutritious fruit should be accessible to everyone. It’s giving the Gamemakers table in the Hunger Games - IYKYK.