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3 years ago

The Partnership no. 10

  • Text
  • Enza
  • Zaden
  • Partnership
  • Products
  • Cultivation
  • Radish
  • Crops
  • Varieties
  • Plants
  • Breeding

Column Interaction

Column Interaction “Seed companies are an important source of information on new developments and provide inspiration for new mixtures and applications,” says the produce technologist. “And vice versa. Our requirements in terms of shelf life, colours, taste and processability help direct the focus of the breeders and seed producers. This mutual interaction is very important, especially as our aim, as a market leader, is to lead the way in product innovation. Enza Zaden is well positioned in my product group. I have come to know the organisation as a progressive, accessible breeding company that welcomes cooperation.” Over the years, Shaw has worked closely together with many of Enza Zaden UK’s employees. After Alan Cresswell (now General Manager at Enza Zaden UK) and Ian Botes (now Senior Portfolio Manager Lettuce in Enkhuizen), Sales Representative Holly Russell is currently her main contact. “Ian involved us in the development of the Eazyleaf® concept from the beginning,” Shaw recalls. “For that project, we visited trial fields in France, Germany and Spain. Through the hard work of Ian and the rest of the Enza Zaden team, and with a little bit of help from ourselves, the Eazyleaf® range is now well established. With Holly and our growers we are now looking at ways of optimising various production methods.” Consistent product quality “A consistent product quality all the year round is our primary aim,” says Holly Russell. “Bakkavor processes a wide range of our babyleaf and rocket varieties. They are grown in several countries, under different cultivation conditions, depending on the time of year. That makes ensuring a consistent, high quality quite a challenge.” Enza Zaden contributes towards the optimisation process in several ways – by providing the contract growers with useful advice on cultivation methods and the differences between individual varieties, and by constantly investing in ever better varieties. Dynamic portfolio Shaw has observed a substantial change in both the volume and the range of leafy products and herbs over the past fifteen years. When she started working for Bakkavor in 2001 the market for fresh prepacked leaf was still enjoying good growth. The market was dominated by prepared bags of sliced iceberg lettuce and prepared bags of continental lettuce types, such as Lollo Rossa, Oakleaf and Batavia. These products can still be found in chilled sections today, but in recent years, especially in the UK, they are accompanied by a much larger and wider range of multi and babyleaf products in bags and plastic trays. A wide variety of dressings, fresh herbs and other seasonings such as croutons and pine nuts offer consumers more choice than ever. Bakkavor has played a pioneering role in that development, and continues to do so now, “the total market volume in the UK is no longer growing as much as in the past; the market has matured and has become much more competitive compared with the early years,” says Shaw. The produce technologist says that the strong growth in multi and babyleaf products has now levelled off, whilst the demand for spinach is still increasing. “Spinach has good health benefits, a slightly different texture and colour and is easily recognisable by consumers,” she explains. “I see good prospects for rocket and various coloured leafy products in mixtures, but the demand for iceberg lettuce, frisee and chicory is clearly decreasing. The range is constantly changing. Our greatest challenge is how to remain a leader in this market, instead of becoming a follower. This of course calls for efficient co-ordination and co-operation with our growers.” Continuous innovation What Holly Russell appreciates most of all in her relations with Shaw and Bakkavor is the combination of sincere commitment, innovativeness and openness. “Fresh food processors give us a lot of insight into the market for ready-to-eat fresh products, which has grown tremendously over the past ten years,” says Russell. “Bakkavor is a leader in these products and very well represented at the high end of the market. The company continues to innovate. It’s wonderful to be able to support Lorraine in achieving her goals, however small our role in that respect may be. The importance of that shouldn’t be underestimated. Innovative relations such as these keep us on our toes and help us to keep innovating for the market as a whole.” Partnership in a start-up subsidiary On 14 June, Enza Zaden Brazil celebrated its fifth anniversary since the official opening in 2011. Enza Zaden Brazil is a clear example of how relevant a partnership is: it is the basis for a solid and consistent business settlement in a foreign country. As most people are aware, Brazil is not only a large territory – twice as large as the whole European Union – it also deals with huge cultural differences and it is quite diverse in terms of climatic conditions: equatorial, tropical and sub-tropical. Brazil is still emerging economically. Compared with its South American neighbours, this country has the largest and most active internal market – with over 200 million habitants – next to an increasing foreign trade in fresh and processed food. To be able to settle under such conditions, strong relations were crucial to be assertive and become a solid organisation. Perfect match Despite being a relatively new subsidiary, our research and commercial activities have been present for over more than fifteen years in the country. Back then, our first and most solid partnership was set with a local seed company called Agristar, one of the top professional and structured national seed organisations with a vast knowledge and deep understanding of the vegetable market. The perfect match between Enza Zaden’s drive for breeding and innovation and Agristar’s assertive market vision and sales force made our efforts worth combining. Such strong synergy not only allowed the development of a solid portfolio like our short day onion range, but also paved the road for further steps. Right choices Looking back on these recent years since our own Enza Zaden structure was established, it’s evident how fundamental it was to make the right choices. We are showing to be not only one of the most innovative companies in vegetable breeding, but also a flexible, focused and long-term strategy driven organisation. Most of all, the loyalty to our values, to our past history and to the partnerships that we continuously build around us, remains the key to our successes. Enza Zaden Brazil is presently active in all major areas where vegetable crops are professionally grown in our territory, represented by a large number of specialised local dealers and continuously expanding our portfolio of the most relevant crops. The more we expand our activities and increase our team, partners and commercial network, the less limited we are for the future and the more opportunities seem to appear on our radar. Jean-François Hardouin has worked as General Manager for Enza Zaden Brazil since December 2010. He believes that loyalty to the corporate values, to the past history and to the partnerships that are continuously built, are the key to success. Strong relations are crucial to be assertive and become a solid organisation. 30 | The Partnership The Partnership | 31

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