May 7, 2024 - Science

Behold, the $400 red pineapple

A reddish pineapple sits in a container.

The Rubyglow pineapple is red on the outside but yellow on the inside. Photo courtesy of Fresh Del Monte

What's red on the outside, yellow on the inside, and a $395.99 way to garnish your margarita?

  • The Rubyglow pineapple, which Fresh Del Monte describes as "an ultra-premium luxury 'designer' fruit that appeals to high-end consumers."

Why it matters: Agriculture scientists and produce companies are constantly trying to innovate, to improve their plants and tantalize the public.

  • Fun new fruits have lately included a thornless blackberry (developed in Arkanasas), a "Yellow Submarine" tomato that's yellow and shaped like a peanut (born at Cornell University), and the Luna avocado (out of the University of California, Riverside).
At left, a blackberry growing on a bush; at right, a halved avocado on a table.
The "SweetArk" thornless blackberry was developed by the Arkansas Fruit Breeding Program, and the Luna avocado at the University of California, Riverside. Lefthand photo: Paden Johnson/University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture; Righthand photo: Stan Lim/University of California, Riverside

🍍Zoom in: It takes at least a decade to develop a new type of fruit, and the Rubyglow is no exception.

  • "Grown in Costa Rica after a 15-year development period, the Rubyglow pineapple has a registered plant patent in the United States," according to a Fresh Del Monte press release.
  • Its scarcity is key to its price tag: While "only a few thousand" will be produced this year, the Rubyglow will be "available nationwide through select regional grocers" and online retailers.
At left, submarine-shaped yellow tomatoes; at right, a pineapple cut up with a red exterior and yellow flesh.
At left, the "Yellow Submarine" is a new type of tomato; at right, the Rubyglow pineapple has yellow flesh. Lefthand photo courtesy of Fruition Seeds; righthand photo courtesy of Fresh Del Monte

Zoom out: The Rubyglow is the latest newfangled pineapple from Fresh Del Monte β€” and the most expensive.

  • The Mini Honeyglow was introduced this year as a "personal-size" pineapple (read: small) that's sweeter than most β€” it costs a mere $11.79 (plus about $30 in shipping).
  • The Pinkglow pineapple β€” launched in 2020, with flesh as pink as deli ham β€” costs $29 before shipping.
  • To merit its designer price tag, the Rubyglow "is individually packaged in a beautiful box that unfolds almost like origami," says Food & Wine.

The bottom line: Fruit salad is getting ready for a glow-up.

At left, a pink-fleshed pineapple; at right, a miniature pineapple sits next to a normal-sized one.
At left, the Pinkglow pineapple. At right, a standard Honeyglow pineapple sits alongside the "personal-size" version; Images courtesy of Fresh Del Monte

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