Most European consumers would not dream of trying to cook cucumbers in a wok; whereas cucumbers are widely stir-fried in Asia, in Western cuisine they are usually eaten raw. The difference lies in their texture; traditional cucumbers have a high moisture content, making them less suitable for use in stir-fry dishes. With Wokcue, Rijk Zwaan has now introduced a unique cucumber variety that is ideal for the wok, bringing a taste of modern Asian cuisine to the Western world. As a brand-new product, it enables retailers to diversify and simultaneously set themselves apart from their cucumber category.
Enabling retailers to stand out with their cucumber range
Rijk Zwaan’s new Asian wok cucumber called Wokcue offers retailers an opportunity to add a new dimension to their cucumber assortment and thus increase the on-shelf diversity. Many consumers still regard cucumbers as merely a salad ingredient or a snack and are unaware of the possibility to use them in stir-fry dishes too. "Therefore, Wokcue enables retailers to innovate the category with an exciting new cucumber that has a unique appearance and distinguishing characteristics. Wokcue can be cultivated conventionally but is also highly suitable for organic production, making it a good fit with the current sustainability trend,"the Rijk Zwaan team shares.
Wokcue meets consumer expectations
In terms of consumer perception, research has shown that very few Western consumers use traditional cucumbers in their stir-fry dishes, mainly due to the high moisture content, lack of firmness, and loss of flavor during cooking. Some consumers and Asian chefs in Europe attempt to address this issue by removing the core of traditional cucumbers, but the results are still less than satisfactory. Therefore, Rijk Zwaan set out to permanently solve this issue. This culminated in the introduction of a new cucumber variety that stays firm and crunchy after cooking without the core having to be removed.
Before actually introducing the new Wokcue variety, Rijk Zwaan conducted extensive consumer research to test the product. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. In one of the taste tests, for example, approximately 100 consumers were asked to rate stir-fry dishes containing Wokcue and stir-fry dishes containing traditional cucumbers. Wokcue emerged as the preferred variety in these dishes and achieved the highest scores for firmness, juiciness, and crunchiness.