To those familiar with OSF’s journey to bring Arctic® apples to market and for apple lovers who will soon get to enjoy Arctic® apples firsthand, it’s clear that the Carter family is at the core of the Arctic® brand!
There’s no separating the Arctic® apple story from Neal and Louisa Carter, who not only founded Okanagan Specialty Fruits in 1996, but have been involved every step of the way since. With a bit of help from their kids, they brainstormed the Arctic® logo and name – landing on “Arctic® apples” because, like the snow-driven landscapes of the Arctic itself, nonbrowning Arctic® apples are fresh, crisp and pristine. The Carters have also been working closely with our talented research team, engaging with our friends in the produce industry, and love being hands-on in their orchards as often as possible.
After all, Arctic® apples aren’t just another bushel of apple varieties, they’re game changers for farmers, consumers, and everyone in between. Neal and Louisa have been farming apples and cherries for decades, and growing healthy food in a sustainable manner isn’t just something they enjoy, it’s a deep passion. Their goal is to do whatever they can to grow even better fruit each year, even more sustainably, and Arctic® apples can do just that!
Looking at apple consumption over the past few decades, per capita consumption has been stagnant despite the obesity epidemic in North America. Thirty years ago, average apple consumption in the U.S. was around 43lbs per capita, which is comparable to today’s consumption, though fewer apples are eaten fresh than in 1986. In the meantime, consumption of other healthy snacks, especially freshcut fruits and veggies, has been rapidly increasing.
When Neal and Louisa founded OSF, they saw baby carrots were doubling carrot consumption (they now make up 2/3rds of U.S. carrot sales, in fact!) and knew the nonbrowning trait could do the same for apples. And yet, recent data from the USDA shows that only ~2% of U.S. apples are sold as fresh slices. Our consumer research shows that most apple lovers would be more likely to buy freshcut apples that don’t require any preservatives or anti-browning treatments, and that’s exactly what Arctic® apple varieties deliver.
Arctic® apples give consumers the true apple taste they’re seeking from fresh slices – no tasting the preservatives they’re coated in when the fruit hits your tongue!
Plus, it doesn’t require in-depth research to know that everyone supports growing food more sustainably, and Arctic® apples accomplish that as well since less fruit will be wasted due to superficial bruising and browning.
It’s been 20 years since Neal and Louisa first recognized that the nonbrowning improvement could bring big benefits for everyone who touches apples. With Arctic® apples ready to hit stores next year, the Carter’s passion for promoting healthy eating and sustainability is about to bear delicious fruit!