Yesterday, Coop Supermarkets launched a special promotion in its stores. It is offering 'hutspot' (a traditional Dutch vegetable dish) straight off the land. "This is a joint promotion with us to, once again, show consumers that the hot summer has left its mark. Even now, in the Dutch winter foods", says Mark de Jong, of LTO/ZLTO, a Dutch farmers' association.
In the summer, ZlTO began a #hetezomeroogst (hot summer harvest) "for high-quality fruit, vegetables, and other products that were just off the mark when it comes to meeting supermarket standards. This is due to the heat they experienced during their growing period", says Mark.
"Then it was about products that came fresh off the land. But there are also crops that were only sold later. We came up with the idea of this promotion in September. We regularly deal with Coop, so it soon became clear that we would go into this together."
"We are pleased with their commitment. By taking over the EMTÉ stores, Coop got national coverage. They have grown into the fourth largest player in the Netherlands. The 'hutspot' packs will be available in more than 300 stores from this week", he continues.
A 'hutspot' pack has been put together. It contains potatoes, carrots, and onions. This was done in partnership with Dutch produce wholesaler, Jansen-Dongen. "These products were put into a container, unsorted. The entire harvest has, therefore, been processed."
"The pack also, therefore, contains first and second class products. It is actually this year's best quality produce from Dutch fields. You must just forget about the external quality features," Mark explains.
In this way, LTO/ZLTO wants to show that there is a market for second class products. "Something has to change. Growers currently do not earn anything for Class 2 products. They often even lose money", he says.
"This demands a revaluation of products and a different way of looking at quality. At the moment, an average of 30% of carrots are thrown away. These, however, have decent market potential."
Jansen-Dongen took care of processing and packaging for the assembly of these 'hutspot' packs. Mark says, "The handling costs were higher than normal. The sorting machines were set to sort Class 1 products. This resulted in more sorting by hand. However, we are able to offer an attractive package for EUR2,99. This is thanks to the good partnership between all the parties involved."
The 'hutspot' packs are on promotion at Coop. They have a prominent place in the stores. "It is in the leaflets and the product is in the headlines. In this way, the story is well conveyed in the stores. Of course, we are going to keep a close eye on how the consumers react to this", says Mark.
"We want to prove that people will really like second class products. That is, if they get the chance to buy them. On the other hand, we want to encourage traders to also come up with these kinds of concepts. I dare say that the argument that 'class 2 products do not sell' is not true. You must just want to. It is great that Coop and Jansen-Dongen are doing so now", concludes Mark.