If you’re a fan of Instagram like me, then you’ve probably noticed that people love to show off photos of their food. Anything colorful, like bright salads and smoothie bowls, gets rewarded with likes and followers.
Now restaurants are tapping into the Instagram trend by creating picture-worthy dishes to lure in social media sharers. That’s why we are seeing unicorn lattes, rainbow bagels, fry “forks” and sprinkles on everything.
This summer, the newest Instagram trend is pink pineapples. These “millennial pink” pineapples are popping up at farmers markets, at upscale grocery stores and even as trendy wedding centerpieces. Instagrammers can’t stop sharing photos of them.
Although most of these pineapples are dyed pink to mimic the trend, there actually is a new farm-grown pink pineapple on the market right now.
When you cut the pineapple in half, the fruit inside is pink rather than yellow. I haven’t seen or tried one of these pink pineapples yet, but supposedly they are sweeter than regular pineapples. What most Instagrammers probably don’t realize is that the new pink pineapple is a GMO. The pineapple is genetically engineered to produce more lycopene, which gives the pineapple its pink color. Del Monte got the approval from the FDA earlier this year to sell the new GMO pink pineapple in the United States. The pineapples are grown in Costa Rica.
I find it interesting that in a time when many foods now carry “non-GMO” labels as a marketing gimmick to play up on the all-natural trend, people don’t seem to care much that the pink pineapple is a GMO. Instead, they are thrilled that it looks good on Instagram.
For more than two decades, farmers have planted GMO seeds because of their on-farm benefits – less chemical use, insect resistance, improved yields. But consumers were reluctant to embrace GMOs because their benefits didn’t directly impact them.
I don’t think anyone would have guessed, 20 years ago, that Instagram would help GMOs win over consumers.
More GMO foods have recently gained FDA approval and are making their way to stores and restaurants – such as the Artic apple, which resists browning; and the Innate potato, which also resists browning and produces less asparagine, a chemical produced when potatoes are fried that is potentially linked to cancer.
Scientists and major international health organizations have confirmed in hundreds of studies around the world that GMOs are safe.
In the future, I predict the “non-GMO” marketing trend will fade away, much like the Atkin’s diet, as more consumers recognize the enormous potential of GMOs to help keep our food supply safe, healthy and, yes, Instagram-worthy.
By Teresa Bjork. Teresa is Iowa Farm Bureau's senior features writer.