Can we improve on nature? Startup company Pairwise certainly thinks so. They’re attempting to improve the appeal of fruit and vegetable products by using CRISPR to remove unwanted characteristics from these foods. As a start they’re removing the bitterness from a “nutrient-dense green” the seeds from the outside of blackberry and the pit from a cherry. They believe that “by removing these hurdles consumers would be more likely to eat the food”. This represents an important difference from the approach taken when introducing GMO crops. They were seen as being introduced to benefit corporates and farmers, not consumers. The difference in approach here is that the importance of showing consumers the “what’s in it for them” is being emphasised. They also say that they will “stick to our values and transparency and being open with [consumers]”
Pairwise sees this approach of making fruit and vegetables more attractive to eat as a way of addressing the shortfall in people eating the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetable. In the US only some 12.2 of adults eat the recommended daily serving of fruit and only some 9% for vegetables.
Given leafy green’s rapid growth rate Pairwise plan to bring their first product to market in 2022. Blackberries take longer to grow so 2023 for them and 2025+ for cherries.