Nowadays, every fast-food chain and company canteen has a choice of salads on the menu, often with tempting names such as Veggie Delight, Thai Chicken Salad or Crunchy Caesar Salad. One indispensable ingredient is cos lettuce or iceberg lettuce. A unique innovation that ensures fresh-cut lettuce stays fresh for longer has recently opened up new opportunities for the foodservice market.
Although there are some clear differences per country, the foodservice market is growing worldwide according to Rabobank’s ‘Global Outlook - Foodservice 2019’ report. In the USA, for example, the concept of ‘casual dining’ – a cross between a restaurant and a fast-food chain – is becoming increasingly popular. Meanwhile, there is a growing focus on ‘healthy’ and ‘fresh’ across the globe. Bauke van Lenteren, Manager Convenience at vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan, confirms this trend: “We’re seeing healthy food, fresh ingredients and minimal waste becoming ever-more important in the out-of-home market.”
Salads are a good fit with that trend and they are increasingly taking centre stage, whether on people’s plates or ‘on the go’. But how can an out-of-home chain ensure its Crunchy Caesar Salads stay fresh and appealing? Rijk Zwaan, the market leader in lettuce, has the answer to that question in the shape of its award-winning innovation, Knox. Van Lenteren: “Knox is a natural trait that delays pinking in lettuce, which extends the shelf life by at least two days and reduces waste. It was launched in 2015 and we now offer a complete range of Knox lettuce varieties enabling year-round production. The range includes iceberg and cos, which are both widely used lettuce types in the out-of-home market. We have a suitable variety for every application.”
Seeing and tasting
She has noticed rising interest in Knox varieties: “I took several convenience and foodservice companies on a guided tour of our demo field in Fijnaart during the Demo Days in early June. We will also be promoting our Knox lettuce varieties at PMA in Monterey, USA, in late July, Hort Connections in Melbourne, Australia and again in the demo field in the Netherlands in September. Anyone who is interested is welcome to come and see, taste and compare our lettuce varieties for themselves.”
Rijk Zwaan is exhibiting at PMA Food Service in Monterey, California, USA, on 26 and 27 July 2019. For more information about Knox, go to www.rijkzwaan.com/solutions/knox