Purple carrots and black tomatoes may seem like a marketing gimmick, but the real reason behind their development is biofortification, the process of adding extra nutrients to foods. But how are such products developed? And how will consumers react? Patrick McGuigan investigates.
Crimson carrots and black tomatoes may sound like something from a modern art still life. But scientists are developing this kind of unusually coloured produce, using traditional breeding techniques, because certain pigments contain nutrients and anti-oxidants that have been shown to fight various health problems.
And the process of boosting nutrients in fruit and vegetables, known as biofortification, may be beginning to capture the imaginations of supermarkets, which appreciate the marketing benefits of eye-catching, better-for-you produce. Wacky coloured vegetables may appeal in particular to children, who are notoriously reluctant to eat their greens, but might be tempted to eat their reds or purples.