Last week, I saw a news item about a juice company that was growing fruit with its mark embedded in the fruit. Freaky. Watch the video, preferably outside of mealtime in case it has a stomach-churning affect on your fruit consumption for the day. The company actually grew guavas in molds with their mark in an effort to show that their juice products were made from real fruit. I hope someone’s got a patent pending for this process. (Here’s one where the exemplary mold shown is a head – freakier).
One of the last vestiges of brand-free consumerism is produce. With the exceptions of some Driscoll’s strawberries and some Chiquita or Dole banana stickers, the produce aisle is largely “organic,” under the traditional definition of the word. There is very little packaging, and other than the country of origin, there is little to no information about the particular farm that grew the produce. But what if farmers started growing food with their family mark embedded in the food as an indication of source, like a branded steer. I seem to recall oranges being stamped with a trademark, but not much else.
As consumers become more aware of the food they are putting into their bodies, manufacturing produce in a mold to embed them with a brand name doesn’t appear to be a good move for anything more than a publicity stunt (imho). People want to eat cucumbers that look like cucumbers. A growing number want pesticide-free produce sourced from local farmers. Maybe molded fruit eliminates the need for pesticides. However, engineering food to indicate its source would likely have a negative effect; it may turn people away from a product featuring “real” fruit if they’re capable of manipulating the physical structure of the fruit. For me anyway, if the fruit doesn’t look picture-perfect, I won’t purchase it.
So what do you think? Would you buy molded produce with an embedded trademark over its traditionally shaped neighbor? Do you think this is a good idea?