Why do most apples turn brown when bitten, sliced or bruised?
Apples contain an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase (PPO) that typically initiates a chemical reaction that causes browning when an apple is bitten, sliced, or bruised. No meaningful role has been identified for PPO in commercial apple production and unnecessary, superficial browning can mask a fruit’s true quality. PPO levels vary widely among different apple varieties and Arctic® apples have some PPO – just not enough to initiate the browning reaction. Fungal and bacterial contamination can also cause apple browning, even in Arctic® apples, which rot just like other apples. This means Arctic® varieties will still discolor if they go bad.
Are Arctic® apples just as nutritious as other apples?
Yes! The nutritional content of Arctic® apple varieties has been rigorously analyzed to prove they are just as healthy as their browning counterparts. And, while the browning reaction typically “burns up” healthful content such as antioxidants and vitamin C when an apple is bitten, sliced, or bruised, this is not the case with Arctic® apples!
How are Arctic® apple trees grown & do they affect other trees?
Because there’s no meaningful difference between Arctic® trees and other apple trees (until you bruise, bite or cut the fruit, that is!), Arctic® trees can be grown just like their conventional counterparts. In all modern commercial apple orchards
(even organic ones), apple trees are grown by grafting, rather than by planting seeds. Even if an Arctic® apple tree pollinated a non-Arctic apple tree, which is unlikely given the details of orchard management and apple biology, a small percentage of seeds might contain Arctic® DNA. But, the apple tree and the fruit itself would remain that of the parent tree. That’s just how apples grow!
If Arctic® apples don’t brown, how can I tell if they’re old or damaged?
Arctic® apples can actually make it easier to tell when an apple is “bad”. Superficial damage that does not affect the quality of the fruit, such as minor bruising, won’t show on Arctic® apples. Arctic® apples look fresh unless there is significant damage, like when the apple is starting to rot, and then the apple probably shouldn’t be eaten. Arctic® apples are not immune to browning; they just don’t produce enough of the necessary enzyme to cause oxidative browning themselves. The type of browning Arctic® apples resist, enzymatic browning, is different from the discoloration that results when rotting from fungal or bacterial infections, so Arctic® fruit will decompose just the same as other apples.
Why are some people opposed to Arctic® apples?
Consumers are passionate about their food (as are we!), which leads to a diversity of opinions and interests. Arctic® apples are developed using modern biotechnology and grown with state-of-the-art growing practices; this unique approach can sometimes lead to confusion or apprehension. There is an extremely rigorous process that all biotech foods must satisfy before they can be freely grown and sold, and Arctic® apples are the most studied apple there is!
Where are Arctic® apples grown? How many acres of Arctic apple trees are there?
OSF is the only grower of Arctic® apples. We currently have approximately 1,350 acres of trees planted. All commercial Arctic® apple trees are planted in Washington state.
Who is Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF) and what do they do?
Okanagan Specialty Fruits® (OSF) is a vertically integrated company specializing in the development, growing, processing and marketing of novel tree fruit varieties developed through bioengineering and other molecular tools. Based in Summerland, British Columbia, Canada, OSF was founded in 1996 and acquired by an affiliate of Third Security, LLC in 2020. OSF’s flagship product is Arctic® apples.
What are the benefits of nonbrowning Arctic® apples?
There are numerous benefits Arctic® apples can offer to consumers and the rest of the supply chain:
- Extended Shelf Life: Arctic® fresh apple slices retain their orchard-freshness with a 28-day shelf life compared with the 18-21 day industry average; reducing waste at retail, foodservice establishments and home.
- Supply Chain: The nonbrowning benefit means that less fruit is wasted during harvest, packing, processing, and shipping, so more high-quality apples reach consumers.
- Retailers: Nonbrowning Arctic® apple slices are the perfect option for consumers, who increasingly seek healthy, ready to eat snacks. Our contact free, grab ‘n go packaging makes it easier than ever to eat on the run, without sacrificing nutrition or taste.
- Foodservice: Arctic® apples offer “Less Prep, Less Waste, Better Taste.” Arctic® apples’ offers new menu opportunities for foodservice operators where apples are not generally used, such as in salads, charcuterie boards or whatever else can be imagined!