Now that the summer weather is nearing in Europe, the high season is also starting at Kiem-X in Belgium. "When the sun comes out, along come communion parties, weddings, and barbecues, and then sprouts are in high demand," begins Wim Bouden of the sprout specialists. To mark the occasion, Kiem-X has added garlic and broccoli sprouts to its assortment.
Broccoli (left) and garlic sprouts (right)
After December, the period approaching summer is the busiest for the company. "Christmas and New Year are always the busiest for us. This year, we finally had a 'normal' trade again around the holidays. And Christmas was great. Demand went through the roof, but, for some reason, it tanked at New Year. If Christmas is a 10, New Year's is usually a 7, regarding busyness, but last year was a 4. Why? I have no idea. A lot is happening in the world, so maybe people's thoughts were elsewhere."
Wim is, thus, eagerly anticipating the coming months. "People are going outside again, to the coast, celebrating Mother's Day, organizing parties. Those are the best times for sprouts," he says. Kiem-X, therefore, added the two new sprouts to its range for the period. "Broccoli and garlic sprouts are particularly nice additions. The garlic shoots have a bit of the spiciness of leeks but taste slightly less intense. However, they're very aromatic. We store them in the cold room, and the smell permeates the entire space. Delicious."
The broccoli sprouts are distinctive flavor and health-wise too, adds Wim. "They're extraordinary sprouts; you can't really pinpoint their flavor. They don't taste of broccoli, but I'd still describe it as a briney, cabbage-like flavor, with a hint of spiciness toward the end. They're also very healthy. There have been multiple studies on these sprouts' health benefits," explains Wim.
"Look it up, and the results will astound you. For instance, these sprouts contain substances scientifically shown to kill cancer cells. One study found that sprouted broccoli remarkably reduces the Helicobacter pylori bacterium growth and, with it, the stomach problems (gastritis, peptic ulcer, stomach cancer) that that bacterium causes. Those are just a few examples."
Inflation brings challenges for the sprouts company, too, though. "We incurred plenty of costs last year," Bouden says. "Packaging costs doubled, and wages were indexed in Belgium. These are substantial cost increases, which you should actually pass on. We do, partly, but the lion's share comes off our margins. We want to keep sprouts affordable."
"If we were to pass all the costs on, people would simply stop buying sprouts. That's because supermarkets also want to keep prices low. There's a true supermarket war going on in Belgium. There are too many per capita, so nobody wants to increase prices. These are difficult times for everyone, but we've survived tougher ones. We'll get through this too," Wim concludes.
For more information:
9850, Deinze, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 472 703 954