Like it or not, Generation Y, or Millennials, as they are better known, have a huge influence on the trade sector. Which is why Top Seeds International introduced a brand for fresh produce, based on the Japanese concept of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. This brand was launched at the recently-held Fruit Logistica.
This seed company specialised in research and marketing of innovative hybrid vegetable varieties. Their Ikygai brand stems directly from consumer requirements. It was intercepted by Top Seeds International through a series of product testings, carried out not only on potential shoppers - they got young consumers to taste-test different tomatoes - but also on a panel of experts.
‘We need to keep up’
“We carried out this research to keep in step with the needs of the market,” explains Gianni Bernardotto CEO of Top Seeds International, “We aim to offer vegetable varieties with not just genetic resistance to a wide range of diseases, but also with increasingly desirable characteristics for consumers.”
This survey, done in 2019, showed the increasingly important need for a brand that not only includes fresh products but is linked to especially flavor and health, but also beauty and inspiration. This culminated in the Ikygai brand. Three kinds of vegetables are important in this brand’s portfolio - the Yuka tomato, Ai pepper, and Umami salad tomato. The packaging too, meets the demands voiced by consumers during the testing stage. Made of recycled clear plastic, it is simple, stylish, and transparent.
The Yuka is a mini plum tomato. It has uniform clusters of orange fruits, which weigh 20-25 grams. This was the star of the show at Fruit Logistica and was the first Ikygai product to be presented. The Yuka not only tastes unique; it also has a good shelf-life with firm, slightly crunchy fruits and a high Brix level. Yuka tomatoes have a wide of resistance, and the plants are very productive. “Based on the surveys carried out,” says Bernardotto, “its sweetness is considerably higher, the flavor fruitier with less after-taste, and the texture firmer.
The company’s aim is to guarantee high yields and excellent-tasting fruit and vegetables by selecting varieties with genetic resistance to a wide range of diseases. Top Seeds International’s team of geneticists, agronomists, and technicians select the best varieties of many different vegetable species. This is done through ongoing field research. The find the best varieties in terms of resilience and profitability. These include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, aubergines, melons, and watermelons.
Top Seeds International’s primary goal with their Ikygai brand is not just exclusivity. They are are also focused on innovation, with the addition - approximately every two years - of premium quality products such as peppers, cucumbers, melons, watermelons, and onions. This global fruit and vegetable seed company works with specially selected growers. They grow crops in different regions to ensure that each product has the right characteristics, such as flavor. The company’s main focus for Ikygai now is Europe and Japan. They may move into the market in the USA and China at a later stage.