NEW GMO FOODS TARGET CONSUMERS, NOT FARMERS


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The first round of genetically modified foods was designed to make life easier for farmers: corn that sported genes to kill bugs or wheat that could survive in dry climates, for example.
Now a new generation of genetically altered crops is fashioning products more amenable to consumers’ tastes.
The start-up Pairwise has yanked the gene out of mustard greens that give them their signature peppery taste but, the company says, the subtraction doesn’t reduce the shoots’ hefty cargo of copper and vitamins C and K2. The resulting milder-tasting salad green can appeal to more consumers, boosting their nutrition while expanding farmers’ consumer base.
The company already is tinkering with blackberries to produce a plant without the thorns that stab berry pickers and without the seeds that stick in your teeth. Those engineered berries will be on the market around 2025, the company thinks.  
Next: by 2030, Pairwise plans to present a cherry without a pit.
And with consumers looking for more roughage in their diets, Minnesota-based Calyxt is crafting a strain of wheat with triple the normal amount of fiber. The firm has already created a soybean lower in saturated fat and with more oleic acid, yielding a (supposedly) healthier cooking oil.
TRENDPOST: The science on GMOs is mixed but hasn’t turned up enough evidence to slow Big Ag in deploying them or persuading policymakers to reconsider them.
Despite continuing public distrust of GMO crops, the food industry won’t turn back. China is leading the world in altering foods’ genetic make-up to produce more bountiful crops that are easier to grow, less costly to farmers, and more appealing to consumers. Other countries will, at the least, not want to surrender ownership of this technological expertise to China without a contest.

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