3 years ago

The Partnership no. 13

  • Text
  • Enza
  • Tomatoes
  • Partnership
  • Zaden
  • Tomato
  • Biodiversity
  • Melon
  • Varieties
  • Flavour
  • Consumer

Local flavour heroes

Local flavour heroes conquer the north 18 | The Partnership

Marketing Piel de Sapo, Italian Netted, Charantais? Three local melon heroes and greatly loved in their country of origin: Spain, Italy and France respectively. Until the turn of the century, these melons were hardly seen outside their respective regions, but this is slowly changing now that they are being given the opportunity in countries in Northwestern Europe. And taking these opportunities! “None of these countries have specifically focused on export with their local type,” says Sales Manager Miguel Salinas Torres. “Why would they? There are plenty of domestic sales opportunities for the melons that are produced, meaning that there was never a need to look any further. In addition, there were plenty of reasons not to look any further: logistics, sales opportunities, consumers’ wishes. The ‘time to market’ is much more attractive on the domestic market, meaning that none of the flavour of the products is lost.” Galia The balance between shelf life and flavour has traditionally been one of the most important criteria in breeding activities for the export market. Melons produce fructose during the ripening process, an important factor in the flavour. However, due to restrictions in transport, it is impossible to get a ripe fruit on the supermarket shelves in time, except in the country of origin. As a result, melons for export are harvested whilst unripe and ‘allowed to ripen’ during transport. “Until recently, the dominant melon in northern Europe was the Galia,” explains Salinas Torres. “This type is also harvested whilst still unripe, in order to bridge the journey to the northern countries. And yes, some of the flavour is lost, as the ripening process does not take place on the plant. As there were hardly any alternatives in this product category for the northern European consumer, this did not have any negative consequences. In addition, melon is not consumed in large quantities when compared to the southern countries around the Mediterranean Sea. However, the offer in this product category is now slowly changing in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands. The consumer’s wishes and demands are also changing as a result. Incidentally, we are witnessing this development not only in northern Europe; the product category is also expanding at a higher quality level in North America.” Sensory learning curve “This broadening and deepening activates the sensory learning curve,” says Marketing Analyst Hans Verwegen. “The consumer suddenly has better tasting material for comparison, as was the case many years ago with wines from various regions, for example. The northern European consumer will only learn about the true taste of melon when a wider range is available and this learning process has now started. We also see the consumer’s expectation pattern rising and we see that they are willing to pay more for quality, particularly when it comes to flavour. This, combined with the improved logistics, creates opportunities for the local heroes from the south.” Are the improved logistics and the consumer’s expectation pattern the only factors that have caused the local melon types to travel more across Europe? Definitely not. The current marketing trends have also assisted this development. The trends for convenience and health in particular have played a The Partnership | 19

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