We recently visited the most famous international vegetable breeding company; Rijk Zwaan. The invitation already promised a lot, because there were new products to see and taste! But why a new type of cucumber is being grown when the regular green cucumber is still fine? What innovation to a tomato can you still implement? I would like to take you with me on the trip I made with my colleagues.
The colour of an eggplant is...
When you think of an eggplant, you think of the colour purple. Two new variants have been added. A purple fruit with green stripes and one purple body with white stripes. However the taste is the same and it makes the plate even more colourful, also a few other differences appear. Purple aubergines in the pan do absorb a lot of oil and the striped variety a lot less. The skin of the striped aubergine is a bit harder. Experts can change anything about the product they want, with this product the skin has changed colour and it has been given a pattern, it sells better if it looks nicer!
Internal red Plum Tomato
A Plum tomato is a Plum tomato, you would say. However, that statement certainly does not hold and I only realized that when I was in Rijk Zwaan’s R&D department. Because the Plumola plum tomato is really different from the ‘normal’ plum tomato, whose core is often white. The Plumalo had dark red flesh and a unique deep red inside, which gives a healthy and tasty-looking appearance. It looks very attractive on sandwiches or in salads. Chefs also value this because of its suitability for purees.
A special cucumber for wok cooking
Stir-fry a cucumber? This does not happen very often in the West, but in Asia the cucumber is used a lot in wok dishes. Rijk Zwaan has developed a new wok cucumber variant that has a somewhat spiky skin and contains less moisture, making the cucumbers suitable for frying and keeping them crunchy. In addition to the wok cucumber, Rijk Zwaan has developed a white skinned cucumber skin, so it looks like the cucumber has been peeled already. This to avoid removing the skin as the skin contains most of the nutritional values, but this is often removed due to the green colour.
It takes 4 to 10 years to actually produce and to bring these new products onto the market. It all starts with a few seeds and if these first samples go well, they will start making more and more seeds so that the product can be introduced onto the market.
Ready for sale!
It is up to companies like BE Fresh, to let the rest of the world taste these new, unique products. We do this by sending samples to our customers. Like the entire process from idea to harvest, this also takes a while for customers to adopt, but with convincing people about the unique benefits and best quality for the relevant target group, it often has a happy ending.
You won’t believe it until you taste it!
Wow, both the new products and the Rijk Zwaan tasting room impressed me. We learned about new characteristics, saw about eight different varieties of peppers and zucchini and tasted almost everything. Are you curious, but don’t you have the time to fly to the Netherlands for that? No problem, I’ll be happy to send you some samples.