Belgian Flandria-branded leeks are expected to enjoy a particularly high-quality crop this winter on account of the warm November temperatures, according to VLAM, Flanders’ Agricultural Marketing Board, which is urging retailers to get behind the product this season.
According to Lava, the group comprising the top vegetable auctions in Belgium, leeks will be available virtually all winter, with peak volumes arriving during weeks 49-52 when 1.6m-1.8m units are forecast.
This campaign, VLAM is keen to promote Flandria leeks as more than merely the basis of a winter soup and has announced plans to offer various recipes to consumers to demonstrate the versatility of the vegetable.
The organisation has advised retailers to create eye-catching, colourful displays – mixing leeks with sticks of celery and carrots, fanning out the bunches to give them pride of place on the shelf, creating a special area in the store for winter ingredients for use in soups, casseroles and stir-fries, and offering ideal storage recommendations.
“If your customers ask whether this is a Belgian product, tell them about the Flandria quality label and Responsibly Fresh, the guarantee of sustainable cultivation and an attractive, healthy end-product,” VLAM advised grocers. “Concentrate on the regional origins with some fun little icons and the ‘homegrown’ label. Consumers get a good feeling if they are buying sustainable products with a low environmental footprint and all at customer-friendly prices.”
Two of Belgium’s main auctions for leeks, REO Veiling and BelOrta, offer the vegetable in a variety of packaging types, and this flexibility allows the auctions to meet different buyers’ particular requirements.