Rijk Zwaan has added the One-bite snack cucumber to it MyCubies range of products, as it looks to offer consumers a healthy, easy alternative to fight off hunger.
The vegetable seed specialist is aiming to emulate the success of healthy snacking options such as the tomato and compete with traditional snacks like potato crisps and nuts.
Joining the likes of the green bicolour and mint-green snack cucumbers in the MyCubies range, the One-bite cucumber – Quatrino RZ – is 5cm-6cm long and is sold either on its own, in a mix with other snack vegetables or as part of fresh-cut salads.
Crop coordinator Gert-Jan Krook explained that the development process for Quatrino RZ took several years.
"You can't simply harvest a snack cucumber earlier," he noted. "The plant needs to produce thinner, smaller cucumbers that ripen at the right length to ensure a good shelf life.
"Our breeders spent a long time searching for those traits," he said. "But the result, the Quatrino RZ, is a fresh, crunchy mini-cucumber that can really rival traditional snacks."
Consumer research conducted by Rijk Zwaan in Germany has revealed that so-called conscious consumers are willing to pay a little extra for a healthy snacking alternative, according to Heleen van Rijk-Wassenaar, marketing specialist for cucumbers.
"There is a real market for the One-bite snack," she outlined. "It was rated as an attractive or very attractive product by 90 per cent of the consumers.
"Mini cucumber grow quickly, so growers have to check the crop twice a day," Rijk-Wassenaar added. "They're not used to that, so that's our biggest challenge in terms of the further development of the One-bite."
According to Rijk Zwaan, the first One-bite projects are underway with growers and retailers in Spain, the Netherlands, Australia and Turkey.