On Friday 18 September, during the Deutschen Obst & Gemüse Congress in Düsseldorf, Germany, Rijk Zwaan received the Grüner Merkur award. Rijk Zwaan was honoured with this prestigious accolade in recognition of its achievements in boosting the fresh produce category.

According to the jury, Rijk Zwaan demonstrates how collaboration throughout the entire vegetable chain can support the development of successful products. “This is the only way to identify consumer wishes and future trends. The continual exchange of knowledge and the company’s future-oriented approach form an excellent basis for making carefully considered decisions about research and development.”

R&D investment

Rijk Zwaan has a strong focus on innovation; the family-owned company takes a long-term approach and invests approximately 30% of its revenue in research and development each year. “Rijk Zwaan repeatedly succeeds in launching innovative products which boost the sector as a whole and help to broaden the category. Hence, Rijk Zwaan is doing the industry a great service,” concluded the jury.

Chain projects

Germany is an important market for Rijk Zwaan. It is there that, in the early 1990s, the company set up its very first chain projects which aligned supplies from growers of the same varieties with retailers’ demand levels. Shortly afterwards Rijk Zwaan established further projects to address the specific needs of processors, food service companies and other links in the chain. Among other things, such collaborative projects facilitated the introduction of the Salanova ‘convenience lettuce’ – winner of the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2006 – and enabled a successful extension of the tomato range. In 2012 the social salad network Lovemysalad.com was launched as a platform for interaction between the professional vegetable chain and consumers.

Win-win situations

“In the past 20 years we have built up many long-lasting partnerships around the world, and we always strive for win-win situations,” says Jan Doldersum, Manager Marketing & Business Development. “We’re extremely proud to receive the Grüner Merkur and see this recognition by the sector as extra encouragement to proceed in the same manner. We intend to continue working together with our partners in the future to develop healthy and appealing products and hence contribute to increasing global vegetable consumption.”

The Grüner Merkur is an initiative of the German trade publication Fruchthandel and is awarded annually to a person or organisation in the international fruit and vegetable business. For more information about the Grüner Merkur, click here