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Carl Collen


Wednesday 1st May 2019, 10:14 London

Good reaction to extended pepper range

Rijk Zwaan's chocolate and orange coloured Sweet Palermo peppers are catching the eye in a growing market

Good reaction to extended pepper range

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Vegetable seed specialist Rijk Zwaan has said that its supply chain partners have reacted enthusiastically to the new Sweet Palermo colours that it launched earlier this year.

Orange and chocolate-coloured variants are now available, in addition to red and yellow ones within Rijk Zwaan’s brand of sweet pointed peppers.

“We plan to introduce the trio of red, orange and yellow across the whole of Europe,” said Jesús Villegas, responsible for pepper sales at Spanish export company Unica Fresh, who noted that the market for sweet pointed peppers was still growing in Europe.

“Relevant growth continued last season," he confirmed. "Thanks to its good flavour and texture, the red Palermo RZ is a fantastic pepper, whether cooked or eaten raw. The yellow variant is performing very well too, and has had a particularly strong launch in Germany. The arrival of the orange sweet pointed pepper opens up opportunities for a new blend that we plan to introduce across the whole of Europe. The trio of red, orange and yellow will help us to expand the market.”

Rijk Zwaan developed the Sweet Palermo brand in 2015, with an appealing flavour, versatility and convenience the three main strengths of the red Palermo RZ - and these subsequently became the brand’s core values.

According to the company, it has taken some time for the vegetable breeding company to develop yellow, orange and chocolate variants that are up to scratch.

“We’d set a high bar for ourselves," said marketing specialist Heleen van Rijn-Wassenaar. "We wanted the other colours to offer consumers the same high-quality experience. We trialled the varieties extensively, testing the taste with consumer panels, the shape together with breeders and the technical traits with growers. These new colours meet all our criteria - for example, the chocolate Palermo is just as sweet as its red ‘sister’.”

With these four colours, it is now possible to make numerous Sweet Palermo combinations, according ot the group.

“That creates more diversification within the category," said Van Rijn. "At our Retail Center in Berlin, we use techniques such as eye-tracking technology to test new packaging concepts and ideas for blends which we then offer to our chain partners as inspiration.

"For example, a mix of red, yellow and chocolate – which is almost black – can be used to make a blend featuring the colours of the Belgian or German flag. Various seasonal blends are possible too. We will soon be launching a campaign called ‘Colouring the Year’ to support this idea."

Villegas is happy with such support. “It helps us during the launch," he said. "The collaboration with Rijk Zwaan around product development and market launch is very important to us. Our customers’ wants and needs are always our top priority, of course. I expect the market for sweet pointed peppers to continue to evolve and grow. Following on from Scandinavia and Germany, we’re already seeing good sales performance in Spanish supermarkets, for instance.”

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