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“Legumes are incredibly versatile”

Legumes are neither meat nor fish. And that makes them so special, according to Martin Jonas from Jonas BV. It’s both a source of carbs and of proteins. “But dried beans don’t contain vitamin C. That’s why they’re not considered a vegetable,” Joke Boon adds. Martin and his brother Jan-Willem own Jonas BV, a company specialised in legumes in the broadest sense of the word. Joke Boon is a culinary writer, author of cook books and a recipe developer. Joke creates recipes with legumes for Jonas BV. Martin: “With our team, we are putting legumes back on the map as a hip product, using packaging with recipes, online marketing, product development and innovation.”

Mission
Martin started this mission about six years ago. He came up with the pea soup kit that he marketed with Albert Heijn. Besides split peas from Jonas BV, the kit contained all of the ingredients needed to prepare the pea soup, including the recipe, of course. Martin: “It became, and still is, a success. Consumption increases annually, and the wonderful thing is that it hasn’t resulted in ‘cannibalism.’ The sales of loose bags of split peas haven’t suffered from it. With Joke, based on her recipes, we came up with more fresh kits with legumes. We’ll soon enter the market with them. We continue to innovate.” 



Stalemate
Legumes have been around for thousands of years, and are eaten all over the world. “Lentils are also called the meat of the poor, they are nutritious and cheap. In the Netherlands, eating kidney beans is also associated with poverty and dullness. It appears to be a stalemate. Because of the increased prosperity, the Western world switched to more animal food, but we should be eating more vegetable proteins. It would be much better for our health, the environment, and our wallets,” Joke says. “Legumes are a good meat replacer, which only cost about a quarter the price of meat.”

Variation
Legumes are very versatile. They can be ground into flour and used for all kinds of bread and pastries or they can be used to create pasta replacers. Spreads, soups, stews and even bean burgers aren’t a problem. There’s an incredible amount of choice, legumes can be used every day and in every meal. To let consumers experience the many possibilities, Jonas BV developed the brand ‘Oogst No.1’ (Harvest no 1) for SuperUnie, and each type, 13 in total, contains a completely unique recipe. The legumes have been attractively packaged. The dried legumes look very nice even without packaging. The lentil mix is surprising, the variety of different lentils are great for salads.



Pickles
These are all means to reach consumers, and to familiarise them with the options of legumes. “We regularly change the recipes on the labels to introduce the user to a new recipe. There’s also website www.peulvruchten.nl, an initiative of our team,” Martin says. “We also communicate directly with our consumers through all kinds of social media channels. Especially for the German market, we created a number of cooking videos, and we are also going to do that for the Dutch market. No matter how simple the product, with the right tools and specialists, you can create and spread healthy and delicious ideas.” Besides all of the activities focused on consumers, Jonas BV also supplies legumes to Oos Kesbeke, the pickle specialist from Amsterdam, who is about to introduce three new mixes of pickled legumes through Albert Heijn. 

Retail
Jonas BV supplies many supermarkets in the Netherlands. Additionally, Jonas BV has also had considerable sales with the same products in countries including Germany, Belgium and Sweden for some years now. Many supermarkets want to sell the products under their own label. “We don’t make any concessions in quality for that,” Martin says. “When they want to negotiate about that, I always tell them ‘no.’ We will always choose clean products and have high quality requirements. That’s why it’s important we have much knowledge of and insight into the cultivation process. For example, in the field of quality we want to know which white bean is best. We want the best quality, bite and flavour, and they also have to look tasty. To make the right choices regarding country of origin, we compare all types by cooking, tasting and evaluating them. Besides, we have certificates in the field of production and food safety IFS, BRC, and we’re working with growers who have Global GAP, among other things. We try to set the standard of quality a bit higher each year. That’s why the BCSI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) is on our agenda for 2017. BCSI is focused on transparent, improved labour conditions with partners in the supply chain. Retailers in Scandinavia require this increasingly often, and Albert Heijn also wants to implement this. It’s a trend that retailers have more and more requirements for their supplied products, and the way they are obtained. Some increase the standards for pesticides to far below the legally required standards.”



Cultivation
Martin continues: “I think it’s important to know where my product comes from to better guarantee quality. We know our cultivation areas, and are in direct contact with the growers by regularly visiting them, and following the cultivation. For example, each legume has its own cultivation area due to the differences in land and sea climate and soil structure. The cultivation method of the farmer himself helps to improve the quality of our legumes.” Important cultivation areas for Jonas BV are North America, Canada and China. Additionally, the Netherlands is, and will remain, an important cultivation area as well, naturally. The Dutch kidney bean still grows best on the clay soil from Zeeland. Field peas and Frisian forest beans from local cultivations in North Holland and Friesland are also being revitalised. Martin: “I also search the globe for cultivation areas I don’t yet know. Early April, I was in the interior of Ukraine unexpectedly, where I discovered surprising options for growing legumes.”

More information:
Jonas BV
Martin Jonas

Publication date: 6/19/2017


 


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