3 years ago

The Partnership no. 13

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

Taste experience What is

Taste experience What is taste actually? In fact, it is a combination between smell, brix and texture. The nose and the mouth are connected to each other. When a person eats, aromatic air flows from the mouth to the nose. This allows us to observe the more specific ‘secondary flavours’. So actually, these ‘nose flavours’ are scents, such as vanilla, menthol and cinnamon. A scent consists of volatile compounds. In combination with the brix concentration – the total of sugars and acids – these compounds form an important part of determining the flavour of what we eat. The texture determines the mouthfeel. It is important that the melon has a certain ‘bite’. If this is lacking, the fruit is often perceived as being mealy. "A lot of progress can be made with good information" 20 | The Partnership

ole, in this case the pre-cut pieces of melon in mixed packages. This has resulted in consumers in the north eating more melon. Salinas Torres: “The Spanish Piel de Sapo appears less attractive to the consumer due to its dark green skin. This colour is associated with unripe fruit. The mixed packages, containing various types of melon or mixed with other fruit, form an easy way of getting to know the new types.” Weight Nevertheless, the emergence of local melon types in the north is a slow development, on the one hand because breeding needs to be performed specifically for the export market and on the other hand due to the modest position that melon has occupied until now on the shopping list of these countries. The Sales Manager explains that the export market definitely does demand specific breeding activities. A good shelf-life remains important, despite improved logistics. In addition, the Spanish Piel de Sapo is a big melon. Salinas Torres: “In Spain this melon usually weighs at least 3.0 kilograms. For the consumers from Northwest Europe this weight is too much; as soon as they have become familiar with the Piel de Sapo – for example in a mixed package – and they want to buy a fresh melon, a weight between 1.5 to 1.7 kilograms is really the maximum. In addition to the flavour and shelf-life, we are therefore also focusing on the size of the product.” Value versus space In France, 90% of consumers buy melon very regularly, versus 70% for cucumber. This is exactly the other way around in the northern countries; though some do not even achieve 70% for melon. This shows where the focus lies: the product category ‘melon’ has definitely not matured yet in the northern market. It is not without reason that the supermarkets are hesitant about expanding their range of melons, when they take up so much space and cannot offer any guarantees yet. Verwegen: “In contrast, plastic containers with processed melon are easy to stack and require a lot less space. In addition, this concept ties in better with the trend for smaller packaging, food services and ‘on the go’. The containers offer diversity, health and convenience, because the fork is even included. We see that this segment is expanding rapidly compared to the traditional melon segment, in which you buy whole melons. Over the last five years, a large part of the growth in consumer spending in the UK has been attributable to fresh cut.” Interaction Nevertheless, Verwegen has a critical comment about this fresh cut segment. The mixed packages do not always state which types of melon have been used. In addition, the northern European consumer often eats the fruit mix too cold, resulting in insufficient release of the aromas. “How can you know in that case that the tasty melon is a Piel de Sapo? A lot of progress can be made with good information. Think, for example, of information boards in the store, articles in store magazines and messages on internet and social media in which we link the convenience product to the original fruit. In this way, we can create a product experience and generate curiosity in the consumer for both product forms. The result? More sales and less unnecessary store losses. Our contacts with the northern European retail market reveal that this understanding of the need for product information about the melon product range is growing, but not yet sufficiently.” Competition Now that the range on offer is growing, the competition between the different types is also growing. There is more choice now, so alternatives are within easy reach. Salinas Torres: “Each local type will need to prove itself in the product range, both fresh and processed. Flavour is what really allows you to distinguish yourself. It is important to remember that you have only one chance at making a first impression. If the northern consumer decides to buy an Italian Netted instead of the Galia, then this type must immediately offer a different experience. A positive experience, if the consumer is going to buy this type again, because the consumer is most critical when it comes to the quality of the fruit. This makes the marketing of melons so different to vegetables; for example, if the flavour of a tomato is disappointing one week, the consumer will still place it in the shopping basket the next week.” Future Where are we heading? Both gentlemen agree: flavour and information. “And that we can act even better and faster on the wishes of the consumer,” adds Salinas Torres. “When it comes to local types, we should no longer listen only to consumers in the south. The sugar content, the taste experience, the aroma, the juice content, etc. are all properties that we are working on in melon breeding. We do this in close cooperation with the rest of the chain. And with respect for the traditional parameters of shelf-life and uniformity. In the past, these last two parameters were reserved exclusively for the export qualities and the local qualities focused more on flavour. We are now seeing an overlap developing: export qualities also need to excel in flavour.” The Partnership | 21

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