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Perhaps most important, Byrne says, is the ability to organize marketing campaigns that convince consumers to buy the variety, and stores to stock it. Nobody did that for previous varieties, because anyone could plant them.
"If anyone can plant [a new variety], why could I put half a million dollars into a marketing campaign, out of my pocket, when everyone else can ride the coattails of that campaign?" says Byrne.
This is the future of the apple section in your supermarket, he says. Apple-growing clubs will compete for shelf space. Traditional "open" varieties, because they lack marketing muscle, will have trouble competing and may disappear. "It is going to be a world of managed brands, just like the soup aisle or the potato chip aisle or any other aisle," he says.
This is another one for the #NatureIsNotNatural files, too; the proxy for natural is "authentic", and as the piece above illustrates, "authenticity" is a fiction of brand-management. (Cf: Debbie Chachra on authenticity.)