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Netherlands: Grower remains primary in 'concept development'

The 'Coolwrap' from Bejo was on the shelves this fall at Albert Heijn. The product was introduced three years ago by the breeder. But this is not Bejo's only concept; they have also developed packaging and processing options for kohlrabi, cabbage and broccoli. Danielle Bruin talks about the creation of the concepts and about the breeder's choice to invest in this realm. 


Coolwrap - The Coolwrap was introduced three years ago. Since last year the cabbage has also been sold at the Dekamarkt and the Dirk. This past September the Coolwrap was named the vegetable of the month at Albert Heijn. The cabbage is catching on because it offers a healthy, gluten free alternative, and because it is a very versatile vegetable. You can make many different dishes with the thin texture and mild taste, such as wraps, lasagne and even sushi. With new varieties, they are now researching whether the Coolwrap could be offered to an even wider audience.


Crispy kohlrabi sticks - "Kohlrabi is very popular in Germany and Asia. It has a very refreshing taste and is quite healthy. That's why it fits in with the healthy trend that is popular now. You can do so much with kohlrabi, including: steaming, grilling and baking. The 'Kohrispy' is a healthy snack.

Putting it on the map
Bejo originally started out as a specialist breeding vegetable varieties. However, in recent years the breeder has launched a number of new concepts associated with their products. The Coolwrap is the most well known concept of theirs, but they have developed new innovative concepts for other crops as well, "We want to make brassica more popular," says Danielle Bruin from Bejo. "Brassica is healthy and rich in nutrients. But they have to be made hip. We think we can get people to look at cabbage in a different way by creating innovative packaging ideas."

Krunchelly - Balada celery is not only less stringy and therefore suitable for the snack market, but it is also remarkably suitable for processing, "The celery can be perfectly cut into three even pieces, making it the ideal snack length." Moreover, Balada celery is very tasty: fresh tasting and as green as a green apple.

Léttage - cabbage varieties with a mild, sweet taste go into the Léttage program at Bejo. This program combines lettuce and cabbage, "In this way you can make a salad without lettuce. Cabbage has a longer shelf life, contains more nutrients and is grown more than lettuce."

Grower remains primary
Bruin continues, "The grower is primary for us. They will remain our most important target group. Without the grower we wouldn't even have new concepts. You need a grower that believes in the product and is willing to go for it. The concepts provide a starting point for more talks, with the grower and also with trade and retail. As a breeder you are continuously working on the crops of the future. That is why these talks are so essential. If we know what they are looking for we can create better varieties."

Purple Sprouting Broccoli- this broccoli has a remarkable color and shape. The vegetable consists of stems that taste a bit like green asparagus, and florets that taste like broccoli, "They do not take long to prepare, and you can steam, boil, bake or grill them. The high level of antioxidants remains after cooking."


Snack carrots - Bejo also has carrots in their snack segment, "We want to show the processors and the consumers that there is a difference between a carrot and a snack carrot. A small carrot is not automatically a snack carrot. People will buy this product again because of the taste."

Developing new concepts is a difficult process. The breeder has to not only be creative but they also have to distinguish between a passing trend in the food sector and a trend that will stick. If you predicted years ago that kale would make a huge comeback, you were probably laughed at, "But the vegetable has really stuck. People are putting it in smoothies, salads, on the BBQ and even eating them as chips. Kale has become the number one super food." The breeders are trying to play into this, "We think that sprouts could be the next trend. Through our taste tests we can distinguish ourselves with mild and classic varieties. Sprouts are rich in vitamins. With good packaging you have a lot of options."

For more information:
Trambaan 1
T 0226 - 39 61 62
F 0226 - 39 35 04
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