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3 years ago

The Partnership no. 17

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  • Breeding
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  • Zaden
  • Enza

differentiate

differentiate themselves. These include both traditional producers with glass or plastic greenhouses and hyper-modern vertical farms as well as small-scale rooftop farms in urban areas. In the fresh potted herbs segment there is a clear shift under way towards growing organically and more sustainably. Among other things, this manifests itself in the use of alternative substrates containing less peat and the replacement of the traditional plastic pots with biodegradable materials. The demand for sustainably and organically produced food is rising, and growers of potted herbs are eagerly responding to this, partly because the majority of vertical farms designed for hydroponic cultivation are unable to claim the organic accolade. In-store farming A more recent innovation is a concept known as in-store farming. This is based on a modular system of transparent, closed cultivation chambers on the sales floor in which fresh herbs and leafy vegetables are grown. The plants are rooted in a tank with recirculating feed water and lit with LED grow lights. The conditions in each module are individually controlled and, depending on the details and implementation of the concept, can also be controlled remotely by the service provider. Strong points of this concept are the visual appeal and experiential value, the guaranteed provenance and freshness, and the clean cultivation method without pesticides. Although the latter applies to most fresh herb production systems, with in-store farming the consumer can see it with their very eyes. The German company Infarm specialises entirely in this new segment, which is also suitable for many kinds of catering establishments. The concept is currently being rolled out in various supermarket chains in Germany, France and the UK. A recent capital injection of 0 million is keeping the momentum going and the company is hoping to make a successful leap into the North American market soon. Continuing growth But that’s by no means all. Large quantities of fresh herbs are also sold in traditional loose bunches in countless places such as regular street markets and farmers’ markets. For a good many consumers, this is still the best way to judge product quality for themselves. And there are of course numerous variations on the basic concepts described here which producers and retailers use in the hope of differentiating themselves. But one thing seems certain: the market for fresh herbs will continue to grow steadily over the next few years, and the same is true of the breadth and depth of Enza Zaden’s herb portfolio. After all, every cultivation method and every sales concept places its own demands on the underlying genetics of the product. And that is a prime example of how a breeding company can differentiate itself. Marketing Concepts Herbs Main concepts Prepacked fresh In-store farming Marketing The cut-your-own herb garden consists of a visually appealing display of trays of living potted herbs. Fresh packed and potted Back to the shop floor. In recent years we have seen various sales concepts appear alongside one another. The two main concepts in terms of sales and volumes – which have been around for some time now – consist of a wide range of fresh cut herbs packed in transparent, airtight plastic trays or bags, and a slightly smaller range of living herbs in pots. A striking feature of the former is just how many different products are available. On the one hand, this is due to the wide-ranging tastes of the younger generations, but on the other, it is driven by the rapid increase in the number and prevalence of specialist herb growers who, naturally enough, want to Cut your own A second relatively new concept, based on the principle of pick-your-own (PYO), is bringing a growing number of organic and conventional nurseries and rooftop and urban farms into direct contact with the consumer. The great experiential value and the guaranteed freshness that PYO delivers inspired the Dutch retailer Albert Heijn to develop a cut-your-own variant for fresh herbs. The Zelfpluk Kruidentuin (cut-your-own herb garden) consists of a visually appealing display of trays of living potted herbs. Consumer can cut, pack and weigh their choice of herbs in the quantity they need. Although a large-scale pilot turned out to be too ambitious – not every consumer opts for absolute freshness and instore experience over the convenience of pre-packed herbs or small pots – a slimmed-down version of the concept, which was launched in 2017, has proven sufficiently promising to form part of the enhanced store formula the market leader is currently rolling out in its branches. Recent innovations 'Cut your own' Organic potherbs 26 | The Partnership The Partnership | 27

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