Snack peppers have been a growth segment for years. New in this segment is a red seedless snack pepper by Eminent Seeds, which will be available on the shelves year-round for the first time next year. There is one hectare of the peppers in Spain as well as in the Netherlands, while there is also interest in other countries. "We seamlessly respond to the growth in this segment that seems to have no end," says Sales Manager Niels Koolstra. "With this seedless variety we are one of the first."
What is special is that, because the variety is seedless, you can eat the snack pepper 'right up to the stem'. "Basically just like an apple, but completely seedless," explains Kevin Valk, Team Lead Pepper Breeding, "and with the same juicy bite." Other notable features are a high brix and a long shelf life.
Change of direction
The variety (a name and concept will be presented next year) is one of the first results of the change of course that Eminent Seeds, part of Best Fresh, started about four years ago. Niels: "In recent years, we have focused more on the growing segments of peppers such as snack peppers and pointed peppers. Our assortment is still large but has been reduced from approximately one hundred to fifty varieties. You won't find any block peppers with us, and you won't find purple tomatoes with yellow stripes either, so to speak. We focus on cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, snack peppers and peppers."
Combination of genes
For all those segments in which Eminent Seeds breeds, labor, resistance, taste, and shelf life must come together before a variety is launched on the market. Kevin: "This has now been achieved with this red seedless snack pepper. It is a combination of genes from cultivated varieties from our own gene bank. The variety has unique taste properties, but also Tm:0-2 resistance and does well in greenhouses. That is important for growers."
The variety has been in trials with growers in Spain and the Netherlands for the past two years. Kevin and the company's cultivation manager will soon be visiting growers in Spain. "This is a new variety and that requires a slightly different form of cultivation. That is why we provide cultivation guidance to growers who plant this variety. Because of our background as a cultivation company, we know better than anyone that good guidance is the basis for success."
Although the seedless variety is now available on the market and is ready for practical use, the breeder will continue to breed in the years to come. After all, there are always wishes. "You always want more resistances and a higher yield. The fruit weight in the new generation must also be increased. Other colours are also possible." A yellow and an orange variant are already in the pipeline. Niels: "The market in this growth segment is also asking for that."