Guest blogger, orchardist and agricultural scientist Dr. David Lane provides his opinion on why Arctic® apples can provide a valuable consumption trigger for the North American apple industry:
The introduction of the nonbrowning trait in Arctic® apples is a great example of valuable and forward looking technology. Apple consumption in North America has been on the decline for far too long and the apple industry needs new and improved products to compete. Fruit offerings from the sub-tropics and increasing apple production in countries overseas (China now makes up nearly 50% of global production) are further reducing the economic viability of our growers, and innovative, value-added products like Arctic apples are a major part of the solution.
Improved varieties like Arctic® Goldens and Grannies that don’t brown are an exciting novelty many people will be anxious to try. Not only will they create significant interest for their unique properties, consumers will find it hard to go back after benefiting from their increased versatility and convenience. Consumers are far from the only group to benefit, as nonbrowning apples will reduce shrinkage for everyone from growers to retailers. They will also help increase grades (a ranking of quality) in light colored cultivars that show minor bruises (normally invisible in red apples like Red Delicious) thus increasing the efficiency of our industry and our ability to compete with imports.
A special feature for me is that more attractive apples that stay fresh longer will encourage kids to eat more apples, hopefully, displacing their present choice of pop and other manufactured sweets. Arctic apples are completely safe and no foreign proteins or other plant products are present in Arctic fruit. Browning is prevented by using modern methods to suppress the formation of the enzyme that catalyses the browning reaction.
The apple industry worldwide has a wealth of experience with natural mutations of commercially established cultivars that result in improved clones, such as better fruit color or more favorable growth habit. This is simply another advancement in the lengthy history of agricultural innovations, and one that should be wholeheartedly embraced.