Kayt Sukel

July 2023

Volume 77, No.6

Conscious Foods
Conscious Greens. Photo courtesy of Pairwise

Ever since CRISPR co-discoverer Jennifer Doudna suggested that this innovative gene-editing tool may have the greatest impact on agricultural applications, the food industry has waited in anticipation to see how long it would take a CRISPR product to travel from the lab to the market. Pairwise, a food startup based in Durham, N.C., was first to the finish line, announcing the U.S. release of its inaugural product, Conscious Greens, a CRISPR-edited super greens mix boasting better taste and an enhanced nutritional profile. Pairwise cofounder and Chief Executive Officer Tom Adams, says Conscious Greens is the culmination of a lot of hard work to diminish barriers people have when it comes to eating the recommended daily allowance of fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We know that when we can make it more convenient to eat fruits and vegetables, we can drive consumption,” he explains. “We were able to leverage CRISPR technology to remove the enzyme myrosinase from greens that we know have a high nutritional value but aren’t necessarily easy to eat. By removing this enzyme, we can remove the harsh, horseradish taste from plants like mustard greens and make them more palatable.”

Adams credits mustard greens’ fast cycle time with their ability to get to market as quickly as they did. The company is currently at work on creating pitless cherries and seedless, thornless blackberries, which Pairwise intends to bring to market within this decade. He adds that CRISPR will enable new food products where producers will not have to make choices between flavor and nutrition.

“This is a tool that you can use alongside conventional breeding to precisely pick characteristics you want in certain foods,” he says. “In the past, breeders would have to decide: do I make this berry thornless, or do I make it taste good? CRISPR allows you to focus so you don’t have to make that choice. You can have it both ways, and consumers will benefit.” 

Stay Tuned

In the July 2023 issue of Food Technology magazine, author Kayt Sukel explores how cutting-edge technologies like CRISPR can be used to not only help the flavor and nutritional profile of foods, but to also help the food industry cut its carbon footprint on the road to Net Zero. Check back in early July to read the article!

About the Author

Kayt Sukel is a book author, magazine writer, and public speaker who frequently covers scientific topics ([email protected]).

Digital Exclusives right arrow

Is Phenology the Missing Link in a Climate Resilient Food System

The authors describe how phenology—the impact of weather on plant growth cycles—threatens to destabilize the food supply chain and argue that this area of study should be actively considered by food scientists.

Reaching Gen Z On Their Terms

Speaking as a part of a Tuesday Scientific & Technical Forum on consumer mistrust, Center for Food Integrity’s Roxi Beck highlighted some recent research on Gen Z’s purchase behavior.

Keynoter Shares Tools for Cultivating Creativity

Breaking down the barriers to innovation starts with playfulness, says Duncan Wardle.

Why Regenerative Agriculture Matters to Brands

Three passionate advocates for regenerative agriculture laid out the challenges and opportunities it presents in a Monday Business FIRST session.

Food Technology Articles right arrow

Reflections by Richard Waycott and News From Ingredient Companies

News and new product information from food industry suppliers, including a Q&A with Richard Waycott of the Almond Board Of California.

Top 4 Ingredient Trends from IFTs Food Expo

A team of Food Technology editors visited the IFT FIRST Food Expo floor in search of the latest ingredient innovations—and found four top trends that are exciting both industry innovators and consumer palates.

How Safe Are My Plant Proteins

In this column, the author describes the safety, quality, and nutritional challenges of developing novel plant-based protein foods.

Making Sense of Consumer Complexity

Connecting the dots between behavioral research insights and product innovation is a labor of love for Dave Lundahl.

Science Sparked

Abigail Stevenson, Mars chief science officer, says a long-term culture of driving advances in science and technology aims to ignite future-proof innovation for the business, people, pets, and the planet.

Recent Brain Food right arrow

A New Day at the FDA

IFT weighs in on the agency’s future in the wake of the Reagan-Udall Report and FDA Commissioner Califf’s response.

Members Say IFT Offers Everything You Need to Prepare for an Uncertain Future

Learn how IFT boosts connections, efficiencies, and inspiration for its members.

More on the FDA's Food Traceability Final Rule

In a new white paper, our experts examine the FDA’s Food Traceability Final Rule implications—and its novel concepts first proposed by IFT.