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3 years ago

The Partnership no. 7

  • Text
  • Enza
  • Organic
  • Zaden
  • Partnership
  • Tomatoes
  • Varieties
  • Consumers
  • Breeding
  • Products
  • Cultivation

Germany: a country of

Germany: a country of customs and traditions Germany is a country that cherishes its customs and traditions. And yet various trends seem to have been weakening the traditional outlook of these Europeans in the past few years. What trends are they and what does this development mean? Social demographic changes and technical developments are often the driving forces behind trends. Things are no different in Germany. The population is aging and households are getting smaller, partly as a result of urbanisation and families with fewer children. A population of eighty million now comprises more than forty million households. And although today’s consumers want to be able to make their own choices, they are more closely connected to one another than ever before by social media and the Internet. “Social media and the Internet supply such an amount of information that these contribute to the diversification in our market,” says Regional Sales Director Central Europe Christof Flörchinger. “New information from consumers is supplied bottom-up into the chain continuously. This has allowed the market for organic produce to have grown tremendously in Germany.” Convenience vegetables Convenience vegetables have been an important trend in large parts of the Western world for many years now. The products concerned are often to be found pre-sliced, preprocessed and prepacked, all ready-to-eat on supermarket shelves. This form of convenience is less popular in German supermarkets. Flörchinger: “German consumers like to buy straightforward affordable end products that haven’t undergone much processing like pre-slicing. That’s not to say that German consumers don’t want convenience vegetables. There’s certainly a demand for innovations that offer some convenience or different flavours, especially if they’re also geared to small households. Good examples are mini fruit vegetables and smaller types of lettuce such as midi cos lettuce. Rocket, a product that is very popular among German consumers, combines all these aspects, and then the price is suddenly no longer the all-decisive factor.” Kohlrabi, typically German? Diversification So German consumers are traditionally very cost-conscious, also when it comes to vegetables. That explains the tremendous popularity of discount supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl, Netto and Penny. About half of all the German supermarkets are such discounters. They stock smaller ranges, with less variation in vegetables. German consumers seeking more diversity can visit the standard supermarket chains like Rewe, where they will find the specialties they want, such as mini pointed peppers, many different types of tomatoes and a wide range of lettuces. Flörchinger: “We see that the standard supermarkets are focusing more and more on diversification. They want to distinguish themselves from other supermarkets and attract customers by offering products that are not to be found in many ranges – specialty products such as midi plum tomatoes, Santa tomatoes, cherry tomatoes on the vine, conical sweet peppers and cos lettuce. And also product concepts such as pumpkins in decorated packaging in the days leading up to Halloween. This approach appears to be successful: consumers who have more money to spend indeed like to spend it on fresh vegetables. Taste, shape and colour are then the decisive factors.” Kohlrabi was first grown in northern Europe in the sixteenth century. The product’s name tells us in which part of northern Europe that was: ‘kohlrabi’ is a German word, with Kohl meaning ‘cabbage’ and Rabi ‘turnip’. As a member of the Brassica oleracea family, this vegetable is related to Brussels sprouts and other familiar cabbage varieties such as cauliflower and broccoli. Germany produces 40,000 tons of kohlrabi a year and also imports the vegetable from the Netherlands, Italy and neighbouring countries to meet its annual consumption demand. Throughout Europe and around the globe, kohlrabi is considered a typically German vegetable. Kohlrabi is versatile and healthy and meets the trend of ‘forgotten vegetables’. This vegetable may not be entirely ‘forgotten’ among German consumers – although it is indeed a novelty for many of the younger generation – but outside Germany it certainly is. Flörchinger: “Our breeding programme includes a few new kohlrabi varieties that may well put this vegetable back on the global map.” Markets Product 8 | The Partnership

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