If you’ve ever said to yourself, “Hey, that pineapple looks great, but I wonder if it comes in another color,” the moment you have been waiting for has arrived. The world has brought you pink pineapples.
Instagram has been awash with photographs of pineapples that are pink on the outside and very pretty indeed. And while those petite pink-on-the-outside pineapples appear to be the pale color of normal pineapples when you cut them open and may not be all they appear on first blush, do not despair! Real, edible, pink-on-the-inside pineapples exist.
Del Monte Fresh Produce Co. has spent years developing a “Rosé” pineapple variety — with rose-colored flesh. The company began working with Costa Rican growers to develop a genetically modified pink-fleshed pineapple in 2005, expanded its plantings in 2011 and received United States Department of Agriculture approval in 2013, although it was still in a “testing phase” when the fresh-produce industry publication The Packer reported on it in April of that year. (The company also filed for a patent in 2012.)
“To achieve its novel fruit color, Del Monte Fresh has altered expression of genes involved in lycopene biosynthesis to increase levels in edible tissues of pineapple fruit. The genes of interest are derived from edible plant species, pineapple and tangerine,” according to a Del Monte request quoted in The Packer.
In December 2016, the Food and Drug Administration determined that the Del Monte’s pink pineapple was OK to sell to consumers, calling it “as safe and nutritious as its conventional counterparts,” NBC News reported.
“(Del Monte’s) new pineapple has been genetically engineered to produce lower levels of the enzymes already in conventional pineapple that convert the pink pigment lycopene to the yellow pigment beta carotene. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red and watermelons pink, so it is commonly and safely consumed,” the FDA said at the time of what Del Monte was calling its “extra sweet pink flesh pineapple.”
Alas, despite all the fuss, current availability is unclear. We aren’t finding a mention of the pink pineapples on Del Monte Fresh’s website or social media feeds and the company has not yet replied to our request for an image and info. And judging from the description in Del Monte’s patent application, they’ll probably look different from the pink pineapples people are finding at flower markets and posting images of on Instagram — probably more like this than this. Still, one thing about pink pineapples could not be clearer: We, like so many on social media, can’t wait to try them.
Photo courtesy of iStock