Designer fruit-the iMandarin

The designer mandarin

Described as a “celebration of a fruit’s perfect design,” the Smithsonian blog, Designer Decoded, has a seven-part article on the Cutie – a seedless, easily peelable mandarin designed specifically to be kid-friendly. We’re not talking about genetic modification, rather a design and marketing approach almost as intense as what created the iPhone, As the blog says:

“While more obviously designed objects are constantly examined to better understand how they’ve achieved market dominance, we rarely consider the sequence of intentional decisions that push one agricultural product into our shopping basket instead of another.

Over the next month, we’ll map that process. We’ll look at decades of experimentation in plant genetics geared toward improving the user interface of the mandarin; the novelty of marketing fresh fruits and vegetables; the rise, fall, and comeback of graphic design in the produce aisle; and growers’ ongoing battle to keep bees from trespassing and pollinating their seedless crops. Nature may be the original designer, but much human ingenuity is responsible for optimizing the mandarin.”

The success of Cuties to-date bears testimony to how well the process worked. Welcome to the future.

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