Not since the canneries of the early 20th century have food processors sought merely to preserve perishables. Processing foods now means redesigning them, making them easier to eat for a population that is steadily less willing to go to any trouble at all. Given the childhood obesity epidemic and the longstanding economic troubles of America’s apple growers, boosting the apple’s performance so that it could, as an industry observer explained, “stand up to ordinary use,” was a doubly urgent project. By making a healthful, fresh fruit that looks and acts more like a bag of chips, a handful of companies like Crunch Pak may have finally figured out a way to compete with the hassle-free junk foods that blazed into this era of hyperconvenience. Some marketers say that the reformation of our venerable apple — and the sense that this improvement was necessary — suggest that we may soon buy most of our produce this way. Presliced plums, celery, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, mangoes and star fruits are all in production.