Kalettes are a branded vegetable. Anyone who wants to plant and market kalettes needs a license. The vegetables were bred by a British seed company; the development lasted 15 years. Its advantage: it is rich in vitamins and it is suitable for winter. From October to April, the Kalettes will come fresh from the field in the Swiss Seeland region.
Kalettes are only available with license
In Switzerland, only Lorenz Gutknecht from Ins and Urs Johner from Kerzers have a license. Since 2014, their acreage in Switzerland has increased tenfold. There are currently between 50 and 65 tons on the market per season. The vegetables still have it hard: year after year, the company that markets Kalettes fights for a place on the shelves at the major distributors.
Innovation in Seeland
No vegetable farmer knows whether his new products will find enough buyers: "It takes courage to plant new seedlings, but courage is often rewarded," says producer Urs Johner. And marketer Vincent Egger speaks of 10 to 15 years for a product to become a new vegetable in the market.
There are some innovative products in Freiburg and Bernese Seeland. In addition to the kalettes, sweet potatoes or asparagus broccoli are grown as well. Vegetable farmer Urs Johner knows: "The customers, i.e. the major distributors, demand a certain innovation."
Competition also plays a role
"One innovation is following another in Seeland," says Hans Jörg Rüegsegger, president of the Bernese farmers. He finds this development good. It is important that a vegetable grower does not rest on his laurels: "It's also about competitiveness." Urs Johner tells us the same thing: "One does not have to be innovative if one does not feel like it. But you can also make money through innovation."