Bayer plans to expand its vegetable seed range to include organically grown products, as it bids to meet bigger demand for healthy, organic fresh produce.
Focused on tomatoes, sweet peppers and cucumbers for the glasshouse and greenhouse markets, the range will be presented under a new umbrella name, Vegetables by Bayer, with the products sold using both the Seminis and De Ruiter trademarks.
Tomato rootstock varieties will be added to the range in 2023, the company added.
Bayer’s decision to expand its portfolio comes in direct response to increased consumer intetrest in high-quality, organic food.
According to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), demand for certified organic products continues to grow. It estimates that today’s global organic food market is worth more than €106bn.
The global market for organic food seeds, meanwhile, was valued at US$355M in 2020.
That figure is expected to rise to US$480M by 2025, and this presents a valuable opportunity for Bayer‘s customers to grow their business as well as improve access to nutritious fruits and vegetables.
“We serve growers all over the world and believe that they should have the freedom to choose the tools or the practices that best suit the needs of their farms and the needs of their customers,” said Inci Dannenberg, president of Global Vegetable Seeds at Bayer.
“The launch of our certified organic vegetable seeds represents an opportunity to continue to bring our best-in-class varieties and industry-leading disease resistances to growers in the organics market, while supporting consumer choice.”
The right tools for the job
Ricardo Crisantes, chief commercial officer of Wholesum Family Farms based in Arizona, US, welcomed the news.
“Organic certification standards require us to use certified organic seed where available, and that is what our customers expect too,” he said.
"We are very pleased that Bayer is supporting our market by offering certified organic seed and look forward to having a high-quality selection of De Ruiter seeds for our organic glasshouse production.”
The enhanced range's commercial launch is planned for early 2022 and will focus on the high-growth organic markets of Canada, US, Mexico, Spain, and Italy, with potential for future expansion based on market demand.
The announcement comes as the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) celebrates the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables in 2021, which aims to raise awareness around ways to promote increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Dannenberg, a staunch supporter of the FAO project, added: “Across everything we do, Bayer and our Vegetable Seeds business remain committed to being the partner of choice, providing best-in-class varieties and tailored solutions to support our customers and partners in growing their businesses while providing people around the world with safe, nutritious and delicious fruits and vegetables."