S2:E1 | 5.23.2019

Who Killed the Miracle Berry?

In the 1970s, the Miracle Berry was poised to become the sugar replacement of choice. So why haven't you heard of it?

About This Episode

In the 1970s, the Miracle Berry was poised to become the sugar replacement of choice. It was hailed as the solution to the diabetes epidemic, and was preferred to every other sugar alternative in blind taste tests. The fruit contains a taste-altering protein, miraculin, that makes sour foods taste sweet. So why haven't you heard of it? Did "big sugar" engineer its downfall? And can modern food entrepreneurs reposition the miracle berry as the future of sweet?

Miracles Berries in the Wild

Transcript

Sara Joyner: On a late summer evening in August of 1974, Dr. Robert Harvey and his business partner, Don Emery, were heading to Dr. Harvey's home for dinner.

Dr. Robert Harvey: The arrangement I had with my family was that on evenings I had to work late, my wife and I, we had agreed that, rather than stay and work late and skip dinner, what she'd prefer is that I would come home, I could bring anybody with me, and we would have dinner and then we could go back to work, and the kids could go do their homework and go to bed.

Sara Joyner: They had a long night of work ahead of them. Robert Harvey and Don Emery were in the process of securing a big investment from Colgate-Palmolive who wanted in on their product, a sweetening alternative to sugar. They turned …

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