Beyond 2000 The Future of Design - The Watermelon Cube

Guest Blog Filed by: IoGT Chief Technical Innovation Officer Warren Marthat BSc.

To coincide with The Institute's Center of Genetic Design 2010 retail release of the Square Watermelon, or The 'Melon Cube', this edition of ‘Beyond 2000 offers an insight into the evolution of the humble Citrullus lanatus.

The 'Melon Cube' was developed in conjunction with our project partners at the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as part of our dual charter promoting Genetically Modified Foods.

Ministry minions busy themselves with the 2010 vintage.

In Japan, confined living spaces mean refrigerators tend to be smaller, and there is subsequent consumer demand for melons that fit squarely into refrigerator shelves.

Space is at a premium in the average Japanese refrigerator.

Institute scientists cunningly achieved the squared shape by placing the melon in a glass box whilst still on the vine.

Despite early setbacks, The Institute production process were able to successfully iron out the kinks and bring our 'Melon Cube' to market.

A file photo showing the Institute midgets enlisted to remove the seeds prior to shipping.

The 'Melon Cube' is mostly sold in Japanese department stores and high end supermarkets. Depending on the pedigree or location of the producer, can fetch anywhere upwards of Y10,000 (around US$90) Around 10 times that of a conventional watermelon.

Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture Lead Project Scientist, the charming Ms. Hiromi Nakamura puts a prototype through its paces.

Sadly, despite The Institute’s trademark and production process patent for the 'Melon Cube', unscrupulous copycats have been quick to mimic our early success.

Another barefaced dealer pushing a failed square attempt.

Established melon farmers arnt taking the squared melon's popularity lying down though. Markets are increasingly seeing an influx of low budget, mass produced imports. Although Japanese police are baffled as to how smugglers are bringing the oversized product to market, authorities are looking to question this character.