Pink Lady: controversial apple
Let’s start with a sure fact: The Pink Lady is not an apple variety at all (her name is Cripps Pink), but a brand. Today it is the largest apple brand in the world, with licensees on all continents. Farmers must join a special “club” to grow the Pink Lady apple. Everything is strictly regulated and controlled.
The Pink Lady apple is subject to much criticism from consumer and environmental associations. They cite 6 reasons to avoid consuming these apples. Will they be able to convince you?
1. The price
A Pink Lady is generally more expensive than another variety of apples. The growers justify this by the particularly long ripening time of Cripps Pink apples. But on closer inspection, this argument doesn’t hold much value, as customers pay first and foremost for advertising campaigns and the image of a certain lifestyle.
2. Variety destruction
When a fruit bears a brand name, the customer generally expects quality. For the Pink Lady, there are specific specifications that relate to its red color, roundness and crunchiness. If these specifications are not up to par, the farmer can receive up to 90% of the usual income.
These conditions are so successful that fewer and fewer apple varieties are grown. It is especially the old varieties of apples that are disappearing. In the supermarket, you can only find very trendy varieties such as Gala, Golden Delicious, Elstar or Granny Smith. The Pink Lady takes this trend to the extreme.
3. Increased use of pesticides
Apple varieties with strict specifications are more susceptible to diseases and pests. It is for this reason that Pink Lady apples also require increased use of pesticides.
Contrary to popular belief, pesticides do not get into the water. They penetrate the skin and the flesh, which means that we necessarily consume them.
4. Healthy fruit?
Newer apple varieties like Cripps Pink contain low polyphenols. This makes the Pink Lady apple particularly crunchy and easy to store, but less healthy for your health.
5. The Club
In Europe, patents on normal varieties of fruits and vegetables are prohibited for good reasons. The Pink Lady brand circumvents this law. Apple growers are linked to the business through their membership in the Pink Lady Club, they must pay royalties and are not allowed to sell their products themselves.
It is feared then that the more the position of Pink Lady on the market is dominant, the more farmers will be forced to join this “club”.
6. Environmental well-being
Due to the long transport distances, Pink Lady’s environmental record is not great. The company promises to change that by 2030, but without giving details on how.
In addition, apples are often wrapped with plastic wrap. Since the start of 2020, retailers can choose whether they want to continue this practice, but Pink Lady does not want to do without plastic entirely. Especially not the round plastic stickers with the brand logo.
The fact that Pink Lady likes to portray itself as an environmentally conscious company in advertisements is also unconvincing. Only 2% of Pink Lady apples produced in Europe come from organic farming.
Many of the criticisms leveled against Pink Lady apply to other types of fruit as well. The strategy of turning a natural product into a fashionable brand is catastrophic for agriculture in general. Let us be attentive to all this, because many people are affected by these unscrupulous practices.
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Cover image: © MediaPartisans