Why We Can’t Get Enough of Superfood

Draft section 2C This section was drafted by Andy Valk

Tropical fruit can be purchased in any grocery store in the United States. Bananas, mangoes, and avocados, are some of the most common, but in recent years, the range and variety of the fruits being sold have doubled. Bigger grocery stores will have more exotic options, such as passion fruit, jackfruit, and dragon fruit due to growing reach of supply markets. The availability and demand for these fruits stem from social media and the massive reach of the internet. Common fruits are a big part of the human experience, seen as ordinary. With the help of the internet and diet culture, some of the lesser known fruits get the spotlight through celebrity endorsement.

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Tropical fruits are both an inexpensive basic food item and a luxury item. The common ones such as mangos, bananas and pineapples are turned into canned juices, or baby food. Most people have had a banana in their lifetime. Pineapples have iconically made their way into children’s television, and, along with mangoes and melons, are the staple of summer fruit salads. However, with the rise of instagram and strong celebrity influence through the platform, people are watching as wealthy individuals are promoting more expensive and exotic foods to their audience. The most prominent example of this is Kylie Jenner and her famous pomegranate seed snack. In 2016, at just 19 years old, Jenner posted about her healthy snack for the first time and within months the sales of pomegranates, and their pre packaged seeds, doubled. It was enough of a phenomenon that untrustworthy celebrity gossip sites were writing about the up-and-coming fruit.

In addition to the famous pomegranate seeds, celebrities have been known for promoting juice cleanses, smoothie diets and plant based diets. These things existed before the internet, but their popularity soared into the 2010s. Veganism has been around for a very long time, but in recent years it’s become more mainstream, and with it, more people interested in greater fruit varieties. Specialty tropical fruit drinks have made their way into common coffee establishments as well. Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts offer drinks based with dragon fruit, pomegranates, and kiwi. Their popularity comes from being able to post your recognizable drink online. They come in pretty colors such as purple, pink and bright green. Companies even go as far as having young celebrities endorse drinks named after them, and that celebrity will encourage their fans to post themselves with said drink. Granted, the Charli from Dunkin Donuts is a cold brew coffee, but it just shows how aware brands are of their ability to push a product with the help of the trend of posting your drink.

Tropical fruits are more recently associated with status and health. The United States has one of the highest obesity populations in the world because unhealthy food is more affordable and convenient. Including the basic three, bananas, mangoes, and pineapples, tropical fruits are promoted by wealthy celebrities and are used in expensive diets. Because of social media, and our ability to share and project ourselves to each other, there’s some level of superiority that comes with these status-coded snacks and vegan diets. Healthy choices are a great thing, but the online communities that circulate these recipes often are doing it because they saw someone they idolize doing it, or because it’s a political identity. For people following vegan diets, fruit or vegetable alternatives and options are seen as acts of heroism or rebellion. It’s a movement against the mistreatment of animals, which is honorable, but these people have a reputation for pushing their diet on other people, and shaming people when they can’t or won’t comply, even if it’s because of income restrictions.

Blake, Imogen. “The Kylie Jenner Effect! Why We Can’t Get Enough of Superfood

Pomegranates.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 18 Oct. 2016, www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-3847304/The-Kylie-Jenner-effect-t-superfood-pomegranates.html.

US Demand Increasing for Tropical Fruits – Mexico A Key Supplier.” Produce Marketing Association,

www.pma.com/content/articles/2017/05/us-demand-increasing-for-tropical-fruits%E2%80%93mexico-a-key-supplier.

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