Vegetable seed breeder Rijk Zwaan has always enjoyed developing a full rainbow of fresh vegetables, and that word could not be any more appropriate when it comes to recent advances in the group’s pepper category, as introducing new vibrant colours to its offering is high on its list of priorities.
“Currently we are introducing new colours of Sweet Palermo to the market: orange and chocolate,” explains Martine Boekestein, marketing and communications specialist at the group. “This introduction is supported by an international campaign which we will launch this autumn.“
Eye-catching colour is not the only area under development, however, with disease resistance and convenience also being worked on.
“We are always focusing on better resistance,” she confirms. “Lt Defense was an introduction two years ago, and still it is relevant for growers. We are also developing snack peppers. This relates to our new snack brand that we introduced during Asia Fruit Logistica. These snack peppers are the missing vegetables in our snack assortment, so now we can offer a full range.”
It is crucial that the right balance of traits is struck when producing any new vegetable, and that is no different for peppers. The grower, the retailer, the consumer – all needs have to be met.
“For Sweet Palermo especially and the snack pepper category, the main characteristics to focus on are taste, sweetness and crunch, as well as appearance of course,” Boekestein outlines. “For producers specifically, the growing conditions are most important, including things like better resistance and high yield. Consumer research shows that shoppers are looking for colour, quality and taste. When we introduced Sweet Palermo in 2015, we aimed to change the pepper category, creating more choice for these consumers.”
And those customers have to be treated uniquely, with different markets across the world desiring different things from their peppers. “Demands are different in different markets, yes, definitely,” she adds. “European and Asian consumers look for different things. We can cater for this, depending on the requests of the consumers and general market development.”