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3 years ago

ThePartnership no. 15

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  • Vegetable
  • Squash
  • Smartfood
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  • Onions
  • Organic
  • Zaden
  • Partnership
  • Enza
  • Varieties

“Breeding companies

“Breeding companies have the responsibility and the pleasure of developing SmartFood Superheroes every day.” Sandra Escribano Why are people so intrigued with SmartFood? Anne-Marie: Shoppers are pushing back on processed foods. They want fresh and items that are positives in their diets. What better foods than fruits and vegetables to deliver on that? Secondly, more important than physical health or weight management, it’s simply about feeling good about buying SmartFood for them and their families. Eating something that’s just a little better than a choice they made yesterday — a small win in a hectic day. Sandra: Additionally, SmartFood is new, appealing and exciting. Not long ago all tomatoes were round and red… Now consumers are inspired with surprising colours, tastes and shapes and new varieties …how is it possible to have yellow, orange and brown tomatoes in pear, round and long shapes? The industry can leverage vegetable innovation to create a similar excitement to that latest cell phone model. Social media contributes to this excitement too…a very important aspect to take into account. It is our job to create the excitement! What can produce do to indeed become that SmartFood superhero? Anne-Marie: The biggest obstacles to eating more SmartFood are cost, time/effort required and lack of convenience. None of these need to be obstacles for produce. While SmartFood offerings in other categories are often much more expensive, for produce, it may just be a tweaking of messaging. Tying specific features to specific health benefits can be a massive growth opportunity. Talk about vitamin types and antioxidants as a way to build the immune system during flu season. Convenience doesn’t need to be an issue either. With the innovation in packaging and product, especially minis and snack-size vegetables, consumers have many easy options for their on-the-go lifestyle. Sandra: Breeding companies have the responsibility and the pleasure of developing SmartFood superheroes every day. At Enza Zaden, we focus on creating varieties with higher yield, thus greater benefits for the growers and cheaper for consumers, along with better flavors and convenient sizes thus less time/effort in the preparation, favoring raw consumption. The last few years have also brought big improvements in vegetable shelf life, which enables the consumer to eat the vegetable when and where preferred, without losing freshness. It also allows for easier adaptation to any packaging size, type and material, including environmentally-friendly options. Most people are pretty good about including vegetables with dinner. How about the other day parts? Anne-Marie: The SmartFood study points to three as major opportunities for vegetables: breakfast, snacking and beverages. In each, eating more produce is consumers’ top strategy for better-for-you eating patterns. To grow as a mature category, it’s all about introducing people to items they don’t currently buy, and finding new consumption occasions. Produce-based beverages are hot. These drinks often contain 3-5 servings of produce and certainly deliver on convenience. They are also a great solutions for parents to introduce their kids to many fruits and vegetables. Sandra: Exploding flavour and size are crucial to win over the snack and beverage worlds. Visually appealing snacks with better flavor will result in more frequent produce snacking among adults and children. This is the exact definition of the new generation of vegetables: colourful and multi-shaped mini tomatoes, mini peppers and mini cucumbers…and this is just the beginning. In produce-based beverages, the absence of overwhelming flavours combined with a boost of nutrition are key. In today’s market, vegetable characteristics need to be tailored to the different consumer demands and market niches. How can the entire industry work together to improve the marketing of the health aspects of produce? Anne-Marie: For produce, being healthy is a given, but a card played increasingly well by items across the store. Produce needs to own healthy and connect the dots for the consumer. Why would consumers want to snack on tomatoes or blueberries? Everyone gets it’s healthier than candy, but what specifically can tomatoes deliver on? The “tastes great and provides a wealth of vitamins” is a one-two punch that only produce can deliver. Sandra: We need to include flavor profile information of each variety and sample — proving flavour differences. Provide information about the origin of the variety, best uses and optimal preparation. After all, SmartFood delivers an excellent eating experience and superior nutrition and health benefits. However, how would shoppers know if we do not tell them? Enhanced nutritional properties should be clearly stated, together with the immediate health benefits. Shopping for SmartFood could and should be an exciting adventure. One thing is clear, fruits and vegetables are not only a natural fit for the SmartFood trend, they should be front and center in the food industry’s effort to be a helping hand in consumers’ efforts to manage health and wellbeing through the food they eat. What will be your superhero strategy? 22 | The Partnership The Partnership | 23