Hon­ey­crisp or Red De­li­cious?

No mat­ter what brand of ap­ple you like, Amer­i­cans are crazy for this juicy fruit

Chicago Sun-Times - - MONEY - Zlati Meyer

Ask any Amer­i­can to name their fa­vorite ap­ple, and the an­swer is likely to come quickly and with cap­i­tal let­ters. Maybe Granny Smith or Fuji. Per­haps a hip­per Pink Lady or even a SnapDragon.

Pose the same ques­tion about, say, ba­nanas and you might get a, “Um, yel­low?” in re­sponse.

The lunch­box sta­ple, as all- Amer­i­can as the pie that bears its name, is more than a sim­ple fruit. It’s a mar­ket­ing marvel, the re­sult of a decades- long cam­paign to trans­form pref­er­ences with the goal of mak­ing money grow on trees.

To­day, with var­i­ous shades of red, green and yel­low and dif­fer­ent sizes and tastes from sug­ary sweet to puck­ery tart, ap­ples have be­come the most heav­ily branded pro­duce on Earth.

The turn­ing point for ap­ple brand­ing was the de­but of the Hon­ey­crisp, which turns 20 years old this year. The va­ri­ety cre­ated by the Univer­sity of Min­nesota’s ac­claimed ap­ple breed­ing pro­gram proved that the 99- cents- per- pound that most su­per­mar­kets didn’t ex­ceed could be lifted and that the days of pric­ing as high as $ 3.99 a pound had ar­rived. Now, hip­ster ap­ples such as the Sekai- ichi sell for as much as $ 21 per pound.

“It’s not just that they charge more. It also en­cour­ages the sale of ap­ples,” said Bob Kil­lian, CEO of Chicago- based firm Kil­lian Brand­ing.

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