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Dutch bell pepper grower launches processed products

Dutch bell pepper grower De Westerschelde has launched the Sweet Pepper Collection. The pasta sauce, chutney and spread are made from sweet pointed peppers from the nursery in Zeeland.

Grower Johan Reedijk confesses that he is not really a chef. The entrepreneur behind the pepper nursery does have an eye for market opportunities. So he decided to explore new pepper applications, with his brother Piet Reedijk. Johan: "The pepper market is under pressure and has certainly been more difficult in recent years. We want to go one step further by marketing processed products. Perhaps this is the way to add extra value to the product." 

Pointed pepper
The Sweet Pepper Collection currently exists of a pasta sauce, chutney and spread - all three made from pointed sweet peppers. There are still some other products in the pipeline, which can also be produced at a later stage. The nursery’s greenhouse is mostly filled with blocky peppers. Reedijk: "We deliberately chose the pointed sweet pepper. The taste is very good, the product is less well-known and consumption increases every year. This allows us to differentiate ourselves."

The design of the package is sleek. The focus is on origin, taste, health and on the traditional preparation, with only a brief reference to the nursery. "For the consumer it is not so much about our nursery, but about a healthy, delicious product."

The products are developed in cooperation with the company Spennekot, also from the province of Zeeland, which also devised the recipe. They are familiar with similar projects. Reedijk: "This was completely unknown to us. Regulations, food safety, taste tests. It's a very different process." Occasionally it takes some getting used to. "At some point you think you’re done. That it just needs to go in a jar and you can run with it. But then there’s a taste test and then you have to wait for a particular code. It’s taken two years altogether." Now their patience is being rewarded: the sauce, chutney and spread are available to consumers on shelves at local retailers and lunchrooms.

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