Countless headlines, a tree lottery and an advertising budget of more than ten million dollars: seldom was a fruit so hyped as the Cosmic Crisp. The new apple variety should be chilled for up to one year, barely brown when peeled and tasted sweet.
The apple was developed at Washington State University (WSU). For every sold tree the university gets a license fee. For more than 20 years, the researchers worked on the perfect cross between the varieties "Honeycrisp" and "Enterprise".
The result was the so-called Cosmic Crisp, which is based on pure breeding, genetic engineering was not used. The apple was named because its deep red shell was speckled with white spots like the night sky. The addition "crisp" promises that the fruit remains fresh and crisp. The scientific name is "WA38".
Critics see Apple as a marketing gimmick
In 2017, the first commercial Cosmic Crisp trees were planted. The demand was so high that the coveted trees were raffled. Since then, according to the "BBC" have been planted twelve million copies, all exclusively in the US state of Washington.
The US state is the largest apple producer in the US and has produced well-known varieties such as the Golden Delicious. In recent years, however, competition has been growing through other varieties such as Pink Lady and Royal Gala. Therefore, a new apple variety had to be produced. Plant variety protection is still valid until 2027.
This week, the first commercial harvest will be available in US supermarkets. 450,000 boxes will be delivered, by 2020 it should be already 2.1 million. At the equivalent of nine euros per kilogram, the apple will be significantly more expensive than other varieties.
Whether the miracle fruit keeps what it promises, has yet to show. Above all, critics smell a marketing gimmick. The advertising campaign for the new apple alone cost more than ten million dollars.
According to the Financial Times, it would be downright absurd to breed a new apple at a time when many longed for authentic food directly from the grower. How important marketing can be for an apple, however, is shown by the example of Pink Lady. The apple sold worldwide originated in Australia and triggered a similar hype when it hit the market.
In Europe, the new apple variety will not be available until next year. Especially the market in Germany could become lucrative. The apple is the most popular fruit in this country. Statistically, every person in Germany eats 30 kilograms of apples a year.