It was reported today on the news that scientists are developing a new bubblegum flavoured strawberry. According to them it is sure to be a “hit” with the kids! It seems to me that there is an inherent danger in altering the taste of our fruit to resemble an artificial sweet. Taste buds like anything can be manipulated towards certain tastes. Are we running the risk of steering kids and the population even further away from nutritional fresh food in favour of a manufactured taste?
Whilst the nutritional value of these strawberries may be the same as other strawberries and it may be argued that this will encourage children to actually eat more fruit, I believe this could be an extremely short sighted view which ignores the more long term issues for the population. Creating a generation of kids who will only eat fruit that tastes like an artificial sweet is a clear issue which poses a significant threat to the health prospects of the nation. Whilst one might argue that tastes are manipulated everyday in processed food with the addition of artificial flavours, one difference with altering the taste of a natural food is that the lines between artificial and natural foods become blurred. This could be a problem if it leads to children seeking out more artificial flavours in foods rather than natural flavours. Another issue is related to the prospect of private entities “owning” the taste of a particular fruit. This issue has some similarities with the issues surrounding GM foods and cross contamination with non- GM foods. What happens where “bubble gum” flavoured strawberry crops infiltrate “natural” strawberry crops? Do we run the risk of losing the real strawberry flavour forever? Does this matter? I would be interested in your thoughts!