De Ruiter and Seminis organised another new edition of Breeding Proof on Monday. This time it even took place in Castle Rhoon, The Netherlands. The programme revolved around the theme 'Monsanto in the supply chain'. Day president Nico van Vliet started the event. Nico briefly recalled the successful launch of six new products this year. "The topics of this year's Breeding Proof are internationally interesting, especially for the United Kingdom and Germany."

The first presentation was provided by Elena Ozeritskaya. She is an expert in the area of target group determination and knowledge. She spoke of the importance and characteristics of Generation Y. Everyone born between 1981 - 1995 belongs to this generation. This group is the largest and therefore the most important target group. This group is characterised by being realistic and adventurous, find social media important, and YOLO (you only live once) is their creed.

These characteristics can be translated into good. Generation Y likes cooking. A lot of attention is paid to food. They like to take photos of it to then show it to the world through social media. They want to know everything about the food. Transparency is key. There is a lot of need for information. Youtube and blogs are often consulted. This group is prepared to spend more money on food as long as their needs are met. Generation Y also wants to be offered food that can be eaten en route. This food has to meet the high quality and transparency demands. They like transparency.

Click here for the photo report

Elena continues her story with four consumer trends:
  • Food = experience
    Food is a taste experience. Consumers are looking for products that fit their identity. Shopping has to become fun again. This is the challenge for the retail.
  • Well being – rustic
    Chic is the new nostalgia. Food has to be as fresh as possible. The reason people buy local vegetables, has chauvinistic roots. Organic vegetables are becoming a booming business. This is still in its infancy.
  • Convenience
    Eating more often and smaller amounts. Cut vegetables remain popular. But something has changed; the vegetables are cut less finely, so that the origin is still recognisable. There is a market for meal boxes and snack vegetables. The use of technology whilst shopping will increase further.
  • Affordable luxuries - price-quality ratio
Elena sees generation Y wanting to eat more vegetables, but not doing it. There are therefore still enough opportunities. The chain can use these opportunities by:
  • Making it easier for the consumer. Adjust amounts, flavour and store supply.
  • Combine different trends.
  • Personalise the supply.
  • Use social media to convey information.
  • Be authentic. The consumer is too.
  • Work together within the chain.
  • Make sure your brand category is clear.
Jack Stroeken was the second speaker during this afternoon at Breeding Proof. Jack is the founder of Beebox. Beebox stands for a responsible eating pattern that is healthy for man, farmer and nature. Beebox focuses on people who choose a healthy and green lifestyle.
When composing the boxes, they have 4 principles: 

  • Fair price - straight from the farmer to the consumer.
  • From the Netherlands - products are from Dutch farmers.
  • Organic - like nature intended.
  • Transparent - always know where the products come from.
These principles come from the difference between agriculture and taste culture. Jack: "The market ratios are off. Most of the profit is for the trade and transporters. I also see that we, as the Dutch people, aren't profiting enough from the diversity of products, which causes the taste culture to plateau and the food chain to narrow further." Jack hopes to change this with Beebox. Beebox is B Corp certified as a social business. B Corp is an internationally strong growing sustainability brand for companies who show that making profits and making a positive contribution to society go hand in hand.

Ibrahim El Menschawi is the EMEA Regional Lead within Monsanto. He highlighted the role of Monsanto within the chain. Monstanto is conscious of the importance of information coming out of the chain. The closer to the customer the information comes, the more valuable. "Everything starts with the consumer. That's where the need is and therefore the origin of every new variety," says El Menschawi.

"Monsanto's goal is to produce what the market demands. They want to meet the need for diversity," he says. Tomatoes are a very good example of this. Over the last few years a lot of new varieties were launched by breeders. The consumer needs this. El Menschawi is convinced that every grower is conscious of sustainability. "This starts with the ground it's grown in. The grower wants to keep the ground healthy and not exhaust it. They have to grow on it for the next few years. It is the same in the greenhouses. No chemical agents are used there. Or as little as possible anyway. I believe it would be just for the Dutch greenhouse cultivation to carry the label 'Sustainable'. I don't understand the resistance against it."

Breeding Proof was closed with a dinner which included the first harvest of Kwekerij 't Woudt.