As eureka moments go, it was a good one. Galen Kaufman plucked a pear out of the cooler on a sailing trip in 1994, bit into it and noticed a tingling effervescence. The cause? The fruit was packed in dry ice and some of the carbonation had seeped in. The effect? "It was so delightful!" recalls the Texas neurobiologist.
Today, Kaufman's invention, marketed under the name Fizzy Fruit, is moving briskly in grocery stores (mostly in the South) and school cafeterias. Kaufman, 42, claims the added fizz "intensifies the flavor" of the apple slices, grapes, pineapple and oranges (with no sugar or other additives). At S.S. Dixon Intermediate School in Pace, Fla., cafeteria manager Maria Joiner says, "Oh, kids absolutely love it. A grape tastes like, 'Wow—grape!'"
Critics argue that Mother Nature's version of an orange doesn't need man-made intervention. But Jack Kirkpatrick, 9, of Atlanta notes, "It tastes like Fanta." Adds mom Lisa Kirkpatrick: "If we can get him to like something that's actually good for him, that's a huge plus."