Whole cauliflower or heads of lettuce are standard in the supermarket. Why would a one or two-person household want these? The Greenery and Rijk Zwaan did a consumer survey. This showed that smaller vegetables are a way to reduce vegetable wastage.
These two Dutch companies recently presented the new 'Little & Fresh' concept. They did so at Fruit Attraction in Madrid. They wanted to attract Southern European growers' attention to this idea. In this way, a year-round supply can be guaranteed.
Peter Polak of Naturelle and The Greenery's Harm-Jan Eikelenboom.
A pilot project was launched this year. Smaller sizes of about 20 different vegetables were introduced. This was done at Jumbo, a Dutch supermarket chain. These vegetables are not only smaller than the standard varieties. They are also organic and available without packaging.
"We see people are paying attention to food wastage. Little & Fresh fulfills a need. This is evident from this test run's initial results," says Harm-Jan Eikelenboom. He is The Greenery's Marketing Manager.
It was a deliberate decision to only work with organic vegetables for this concept. In this case, the seeds come from Rijk Zwaan. Naturelle farmers grow the vegetables. Naturelle is The Greenery's organic division.
"Organic, unpackaged vegetables fit in perfectly with this idea. Our consumer research shows that a third of the respondents have a strong preference for organic products. A third of them do not mind one way or the other. The final third does not specifically choose organic food."
"The majority of people are, therefore, open to the idea of organic products. With ‘Little & Fresh’, we want to make a further contribution to increasing the consumption of organic fruit and vegetables," says Harm-Jan.
The ‘Little & Fresh’ assortment currently includes products such as bell peppers, courgettes, and aubergines. There is also broccoli and cauliflower. "We are now seeing if we can offer these small vegetables chilled too. This offers the potential for bok choy and lettuce varieties."
There are not yet any plans to expand to small fruits. This is according to Harm-Jan. "But, never say never. First, however, we want to expand this idea with more organic vegetables. We want to do so after the pilot project's success," he explains.
"This is already demanding a lot of attention. Not all kinds of vegetables are suited to being offered in small sizes. Growers, retailers, and consumers also want a uniform product."
"This is what we were doing at the trade show in Madrid. We wanted to see if any Spanish growers might be interested in participating. We want to be able to offer small vegetables all year long," the Marketing Manager continues.
"We have had enthusiastic initial reactions. The concept is unique. It connects the relevant parties in the chain. We have set up a one-of-a-kind chain project. The entire chain - from the seed provider to the consumer - is involved."
"We did this along with Rijk Zwaan and the Naturelle farmers. This creates an enormous amount of positive energy," concludes Harm-Jan.
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