Seed World

Arctic Apple to Test Consumer Preferences

The Artic Apple, an apple that has been genetically modified to prevent browning, saw its first commercial harvest this past fall and is now being market tested in 10 Midwestern U.S. stores.

Rabobank analysts recognize that the Artic Apple could truly test consumers’ willingness to purchase a fresh, GM produce item which delivers a consumer-centric characteristic. The World Health Organization has repeatedly stressed the safety of GM foods, but opponents continue to put the pressure on leading U.S. food brands.

“Organic, ‘clean label’ and natural foods — regardless of what those terms actually mean — are thriving, while GM foods are under fire,” according to Cindy van Rijswick, Rabobank fruit and vegetable analyst. “Consumers are skeptical when it comes to GM food, despite the fact that it already constitutes part of their daily diets in the form of GM food ingredients and animal feed.”

The developer, Okanagana Specialty Fruits, is putting a significant amount of effort into marketing the Artic Apple. The apple will be sold pre-sliced and all packages will have QR codes leading to information about the development of the Artic Apple and techniques used.

“Some in the apple industry fear that, if the Arctic Apple is not clearly labeled and distinguished from non-GMO apples, then the entire apple category will suffer due to consumer fear and uncertainty,” adds Roland Fumasi, Rabobank fruit and vegetable analyst.