Why these pink pineapples are sweeter than the yellow ones

Pink pineapples are real, not an Instagram filter trick, and they’re a sweeter cousin to the yellow tropical fruit we know so well. But it’s not easy to get your hands on one.

Del Monte Fresh and Dole Plantation started growing the genetically modified pineapples in Hawaii and Jamaica a few years back, and the FDA approved the pink pineapples and deemed them safe for consumption in late 2016. But it’s taken a while for them to become available to consumers.

In October 2020, Del Monte finally released the “pinkglow” pineapple to consumers via an online ordering system. Then, the pinkglow was going for $49 a pop; in late December, they were down to $29 for a single pinkglow pineapple.

The high price on the pink fruit, which Del Monte first started developing in 2005, is a result of its rarity. Pablo Rivero, vice president of marketing for North America for Fresh Del Monte, told Food and Wine, they can take 24 months to grow, and they’re hand-harvested on a farm in Costa Rica. “It is important to understand that scaling up production of a new variety from a few plants requires several production cycles of seeds, and in this case each cycle takes more than a year,” he told the publication.

So it’s going to be a while before they have a lot of these to sell — hopefully at a lower price, because we have to admit, this fruit platter featuring a pinkglow is gorgeous:

How do these pinkglows get that magical color, anyway?

It turns out we have lycopene, a cancer-preventative phytonutrient, to thank for the fruit’s pink hue. “Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red and watermelons pink, so it is commonly and safely consumed,” according to the FDA.

The lycopene also gives the pink pineapple a sweeter taste. So, you’re getting a fun color and even more sweetness from this new take on the tropical fruit — though it can sub in for a regular pineapple anywhere you’ve used one before, from desserts to drinks, Del Monte tweeted.

Pink pineapples contain less of the enzyme bromelain, which can cause that burning sensation in your mouth when you eat pineapples.

Whether you’re serving them up on a fruit platter or using them to add a touch of pretty pink to your pina coladas and smoothies, there’s no way you could go wrong with such a festive fruit!