On Friday 10 February 2017, the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award was presented to Rijk Zwaan for its Knox anti-pinking in cut lettuce trait, after visitors to the show voted it their favourite from a list of ten nominees.
On winning the award - the second time the company has landed the top prize - Rijk Zwaan said it was extremely honoured and proud that Knox emerged as the winner.
“This award is the icing on the cake following more than ten years of intensive breeding work," noted Bauke van Lenteren, marketing specialist for leafies at Rijk Zwaan. "We wholeheartedly thank the visitors for their votes and our chain partners for their faith in Knox."
Knox attracted plenty of attention during this year’s Fruit Logistica in Berlin, according to van Lenteren: “Visitors have been pleasantly surprised. We’ve developed Knox in direct response to what processing companies wished for most. Sales of fresh-cut and bagged lettuce have been growing strongly for years, but pinking is a problem.
"Now, Knox substantially extends the shelf life," she continued. "Furthermore, for retailers, the advantages include improved inventory management and less waste. They’ve told us that a fresh product with just one extra day of shelf life results in 25 per cent less spoilage, and that’s why they are so enthusiastic about Knox. During Fruit Logistica, there has been tremendous interest from growers, processing companies and retailers from all over the world.”
The roll-out of Knox will continue throughout 2017, the group confirmed. Processing companies in the UK, Switzerland, Poland, Australia and the USA are already working with Knox lettuce varieties, and growers, vegetable processing companies and retailers in other countries are in the midst of trials.
In the meantime, Rijk Zwaan will continue to develop new types until all the main lettuce varieties have the Knox trait. The Fruit Logistica Innovation Award – the most important accolade in the international fruit and vegetable sector – provides the company with extra encouragement to pursue that goal.