Consumer reaction to GMO apple to be measured
SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI
February 13, 2017
• New apple resists browning
• Bank to study how consumers will accept it
Will consumers go for a new type of apple that has been genetically modified to curtail browning? That’s what researchers at Rabobank hope to find out.
The bank’s fruit sector analysts have been closely monitoring the development of the “Artic Apple,” an apple that has been genetically modified (GM) to prevent browning. Ten Midwestern U.S. stores have been selected for market testing starting this month/
Analysts recognize that the apple could truly test consumers’ willingness to purchase a fresh, but genetically modified produce item that delivers what the bank calls a “consumer-centric characteristic.”
“Organic, ‘clean label’ and natural foods — regardless of what those terms actually mean — are thriving, while GM foods are under fire,” says Rabobank Fruit and Vegetable Analyst Cindy van Rijswick.
“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,” she says.
The developer, Okanagana Specialty Fruits, is putting a significant amount of effort into marketing the fruit under the trade name Artic Apple. The apple will be sold pre-sliced and all packages will have QR codes leading to information about the development of the 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,” notes Roland Fumasi, Rabobank fruit and vegetable analyst.