The XX Factor

If God Won’t Make a Better Berry, These Guys Will

Add dried fruit to the ever-growing list of things food scientists just can’t leave alone. In the ongoing quest to develop “lo-cal fruit” (who knew that was an issue?), researchers have figured out a way to suck the sugar from strawberries and replace it with stevia . Yum! Maybe they can add some artificial strawberry flavoring, too-because why eat a convenient natural food unless you have to?

Better yet, why not add different flavors. Why should a strawberry taste like a strawberry when there are so many other flavors available? If an apple can become a Grapple , surely the humble strawberry can dream. How about a rasp-strawberry? They could call it a “Raspberry.”

I appreciate a little food innovation-no one could be a bigger fan of the Halloween Oreo than I. But junk food is supposed to be processed and fruit isn’t. With a few exceptions, the less that’s done to a food, the healthier it is and the better it tastes. Strawberries can be grown almost anywhere during some part of the year, and dried nearby for muffins, granola, and snacking. They’re full of natural sugars and a whole host of other healthy stuff, some of which we probably haven’t even identified yet. Why mess with a good thing?

Because strawberry “applications” that make use of dried fruit often add a lot of sugar to the finished product-so letting the dried strawberry keep its natural sugars results in a product with a “considerable caloric load … limiting consumer acceptance. ” It’s all part of an effort to develop “healthier and more nutritive products.”

Because nothing says summer goodness like a product.