Now available in a range of sizes and colours, the snack tomato has established itself as a healthy alternative for traditional snacks such as potato crisps and nuts. And it has now been joined by a fresh, crunchy mini cucumber that can be eaten whole. One-bite looks similar to a regular snack cucumber, but is even smaller at just six centimetres in length. This low-calorie, bite-sized snack is a perfect fit in Rijk Zwaan’s MyCubies snack segment.
A long process to find the right cucumber
More and more cucumber types are arriving on the scene to keep the traditional long, green cucumber company. The Rijk Zwaan MyCubies range already includes green, bicolour and mint-green snack cucumbers of between 8 and 11 centimetres in length, and these have now been joined by the unique One-bite cucumber which is 5 to 6 centimetres long and weighs 8 to 15 grams. The development process took years, according to Crop Coordinator Gert-Jan Krook: “You can’t simply harvest a snack cucumber earlier. The plant needs to produce thinner, smaller cucumbers that ripen at the right length to ensure a good shelf life. Our breeders spent a long time searching for those traits. But the result, Quatrino RZ, is a fresh, crunchy mini cucumber that can really rival traditional snacks.”
And that is precisely how Rijk Zwaan positions One-bite in response to the snack and convenience trend: as a healthy, easy alternative when hunger pangs strike. It is sold either on its own, in a mix with other snack vegetables or as part of fresh-cut salads. It can be eaten immediately, no peeling required. Consumer research conducted by Rijk Zwaan in Germany revealed that ‘conscious consumers’ are prepared to pay a little extra for a product like this, explains Heleen van Rijn-Wassenaar, Marketing Specialist Cucumber: “There is a real market for the One-bite snack. It was rated as an attractive or very attractive product by 90% of the consumers. Our research also gives our partners insight into possible packaging concepts and pricing levels.”
The price is definitely an important factor, because harvesting is a very labour-intensive process, adds Krook: “Mini cucumbers grow quickly, so growers have to check the crop twice a day. They’re not used to that, so that’s our biggest challenge in terms of the further development of One-bite.”
In spite of that challenge, the first chain projects are already under way; a number of growers and retailers in Spain, the Netherlands, Australia and Turkey have agreed to produce and market the One-bite snack. Rijk Zwaan shares the findings from its consumer research with potentially interested chain partners and also collaborates with them on promotional campaigns. Van Rijn: “Retailers that are already working with MyCubies can simply add One-bite under the same label. In other cases, we offer a separate One-bite label in a similar style, and there are co-branding possibilities too. We’re happy to discuss the opportunities.”
MyCubies One Bite will be displayed at Rijk Zwaan's booth at Fruit Attraction, from 23-25 October in Madrid, Spain.