Del Monte made headlines last week by finally offering its “Pink Glow” Pineapple for sale. The pink-fleshed fruit is bioengineered to produce the trendy rose color. And after 15 years of development, you can finally purchase your own Pink Glow pineapple through Del Monte’s website.
What is the Pink Glow Pineapple?
Del Monte’s goal with the Pink Glow Pineapple was to change the fruit’s color. That’s it. Pineapples have an enzyme that converts pink-pigment lycopene to yellow beta carotene. Del Monte engineered the Pink Glow pineapple to produce fewer enzymes. So the flesh stays pink instead of turning yellow.
Del Monte also claims the pink pineapple is sweeter and juicer than its non-GMO counterparts.
Is it safe?
After 15 years of research and development, you bet. There’s actually not a lot of controversy here. The FDA concluded the pineapple is safe back in 2016. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red and watermelon pink. So it’s already widely consumed and poses no health risk.
Will consumers accept it?
I always get excited when a consumer-oriented GMO hits the market. Why? Because it’s the best way to convince people that these crops are really beneficial for all of us. Del Monte’s announcement was met with a bunch of fanfare. But I doubt the Pink Glow Pineapple will accomplish much for GMOs as a whole.
To start, the price tag of $50 doesn’t make this a very accessible fruit. It’s more of a party-trick gimmick at this point. My understanding is that’s only because the supply is still very limited—the pineapple are only grown on a single farm in Costa Rica and all crowns are used to plant new trees. So maybe that changes.
It also doesn’t really do anything. The pineapple’s flesh is a different color. And it’s supposed to be sweeter and juicer. But it’s really just a fun (dare I say, frivolous?) GMO. It doesn’t solve any societal problems, or improve people’s lives. Not that every bioengineered crop needs to do that, but I don’t see this pineapple moving the needle for that reason.
Will I buy it? Not at this price point. If it becomes more reasonable? I’ll be all about it. Because rose!