Hans van den Heuvel, general manager at Hillfresh, highlights the melons that are making waves for the Dutch group

Hillfresh Limelon

What is exciting you about melons right now?

Hans van den Heuvel: With our long-lasting partners in Spain, Gregal, we are working hard every day to convince more customers of the great eating quality of the ‘Galkia’ Galia melon. The response to this melon is great and every consumer tasting it loves it and repeatedly purchases it.

Apart from that, Gregal is a fantastic partner for other varieties as well producing the finest quality Cantaloupe, yellow Honeydew and Piel de Sapo melons.

With our other long-lasting partner Sacoje we work hard to further develop our growth in Limelon and our watermelon programmes.

How is the Limelon performing?

HVDH: Limelon is a fantastic addition to the melon category. It is a melon with a good shelf-life, its appearance is so different, and its taste is so refreshing and unique that any consumer that buys it will remember it.

Our Limelon is performing great, we are really happy to see that some very well-known retailers in the Benelux, Switzerland and Austria have decided to give it a place on the shelves as well.

The challenge for the coming season is to develop sales in the Spanish, Portuguese and French market sand further develop this refreshing specialty melon.

What are customers demanding when it comes to Melons?

HVDH: When it comes to driving sales there are three things that are the most important – taste, taste and taste. If on top of that the melon can be recognised easily from the outside by the consumer, it is a very big pro.

Are there any other new varieties that are showing promise?

HVDH: We keep testing yellow Honeydew varieties from our partner Known-You Seed that have given very promising test results with a high brix and fantastic taste, and hope in the near future one of these can go commercial.

What are the main challenges the category is facing?

HVDH: When it comes to overseas melons we have an enormous challenge in organising the best logistics possible. That really gave a headache last season.

When it comes to cost one has to make sure you remain lean and mean and further develop the producer partnerships we have. The only way to develop is a to have a chain that is transparent for everyone involved, and that can only be done with real partners.