There’s a new banana on the block.
A bunch, actually.
Yes – thanks to a collaboration between indigenous farmers in New Zealand and AgResearch scientists, you may now be able to experience a new level of flavor in your bananas… if you’re a Kiwi, that is.
The project involves using DNA testing and lab-grown plants to select the ideal banana genetics for New Zealand’s specific climate. The goal is to produce more flavorful bananas… ones that truly thrive in the local environment.
I’m sure you have the same question we do:
Why new bananas? Was there something wrong with the old ones? And why New Zealand?
Here’s a fun fact: New Zealanders are the world’s top banana consumers per capita. Cool, right?
Sadly, so is the climate. Because New Zealand’s climate is not the typical tropical temperature bananas prefer, they’ve been faced with a potential banana shortage in recent years.
They currently import more than $220 million worth of bananas per year to meet the demand, but it still isn’t enough. They needed to find a way to supplement production locally – hence the new banana initiative.
Here’s the thing about these bananas: They’re delicious
First off, the new bananas are expected to be fairly expensive – at least at first. That’s alright, though, because they’ll make up for the price in flavor!
The new banana varieties being tested in various regions throughout the country include some bananas that taste like apples… while another variety tastes like apricots. This is due to the broad range in flavor profiles out there and selective breeding. (Of course, it’s just a coincidence that these new bananas taste like apples – but it’s not a coincidence that they taste better than average.)
That means this steady flow of bananas will not only help keep up with demand, it will also add some selection to the fruit aisle.
The goal is to have the crops ready by mid-2021. Yet another reason to add New Zealand to your list of travel destinations (once we’re all moving around again)!
Learn more about the AgResearch project here.
What do you think… would you prefer an apple-flavored banana? Or do you think bananas should taste like… well, bananas? Let us know in the comments below!