Grapes are a popular fruit choice, but their tartness can sometimes overpower the natural flavor of the fruit. This is because the natural flavors of grapes have been stripped away by decades of breeding to withstand shipping and storage — not to please our taste buds. By the time the fruit reaches the stores for selling, they have lost much of of their sweet flavor.
Plant breeders at International Fruit Genetics in Bakersfield, Calif. wants to bring the natural sweetness back to the humble grape. They have created a grape what tastes like candy – cotton candy. Meet the Cotton Candy grape.
Horticulturalist, David Cain and his team do not work in an underground frankenfood lab or use genetic modifications to create this sugary grape. The Cotton Candy grape is made by hybridizing two different grape species. In general, because the grapes have bitter skins, ” the breeder took parent material to cross those with grapes that were seedless and had better flavor into a grape that would be better for consumers.” The sugar content in the hybridized grapes is 12% higher compared to other store bought grapes.
So the designer fruit is actually a hybrid — like pluots, peacharines and cherums. Cain and his team, have plans to make an assortment of grapes to flavor other fruits such as, strawberries, and mangos or pineapple.
My thoughts on this are mixed. I understand that healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables have fierce competitors with junk food rivals, especially when the junk food snacks boast of their “natural” flavorings. As well, hybridized fruits with unusual flavors would encourage healthy eating practices, but with all the cross-bred foods out there, can’t we leave the fruit alone? Are we so bored in our diets that we have to have designer fruit flavors? And, how far will this designer fruit flavors go? One day, we could be eating an apple that tastes like a Jolly Rancher? Moreover, with the higher sugar content, wouldn’t this cause more dental and health issues?
What are your thoughts on the Cotton Candy grapes and hybridized fruits?