Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As Grapefruit Withers Away, Americans Lose Touch With The Superfood


Be honest. When was the last time you had a grapefruit? If you're having a hard time remembering, you're not alone.


Grapefruit did have a heyday. The average American ate it almost 25 pounds of it in 1976. It was on breakfast tables and on diet lists. Well, now that average is a little over five pounds a year, so why?

CORNISH: Well for one thing, there's less of it. A disease called citrus greening has cut production by about 60 percent since 2000. Roberto Ferdman writes about food culture and economics for The Washington Post's Wonkblog. He says one problem for the grapefruit is that nobody is thinking about it.

ROBERTO FERDMAN: Because the industry has had to spend so much money on this disease and on research on this disease, they haven't been able to promote the fruit. So people have actually lost touch with what grapefruits taste like, with what varieties are like, that they can be found at supermarkets. They're just not being bought.

SIEGEL: And to that add this, the FDA says grapefruit doesn't mix well with medications like Lipitor and Allegra. And the biggest consumers of grapefruit, older people, are the ones most likely to be taking those medications. So what's the prognosis?

FERDMAN: So a report, in fact, by the industry itself kind of quietly shows that they don't see any sort of rebound happening any time over the next 10 years.

CORNISH: It seems the future of the grapefruit isn't looking any sweeter. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.