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Broccolini: established in the UK, exotic in EU

Now that Broccolini, or Bimi in the Netherlands, has conquered the British market, it is time to advance to the Continent. In recent years, this cross between Chinese cabbage and broccoli was already making headway, but that growth should now be further expanded, and Europeans should meet the vegetable. A marketing offensive should do the trick. In order to better communicate the advantages, recognisability and the application possibilities, a new packaging has been developed by COREGEO, the brand marketing specialist and licenser of BIMI.

“Of course, the product has already been around for about ten years,” says Chris Ouwehand from FV SeleQt, “but not much active branding has happened yet to approach consumers.” Focus in promotion was on the UK, where it is known as Tenderstem Broccoli, and where the vegetable has a permanent place in supermarkets by now. The differences in consumption figures between the British and the Europeans are enormous. While the British consume 750 tonnes of Broccolini per month, Europeans only consume 30 tonnes per month. “That enormous difference clearly shows the huge potential for Broccolini.”

Pink Lady
The fact that Broccolini is this successful on the UK market is not just the cause of promotional campaigns. Convenience products in mixed packaging are common in the UK, and Broccolini was easily added to the assortment. These types of mixed packagings are much less common in the Netherlands. Besides, a large number of Asian people live in the UK, and Broccolini is well-suited to the Asian kitchen. “Consistent marketing is paying off,” says Chris.

A collaboration between FV SeleQt and Coregeo should increase consumption on the Continent. Coregeo is also responsible for the marketing of Pink Lady in the UK. “The challenge of the campaign is to get consumers familiar with the unique flavour and versatility of Broccolini. The vegetable has more nutritional value than other vegetables, and does not taste the same as broccoli.” According to Chris, it is sweeter and softer than regular broccoli.

Tasting necessary
The application possibilities should also be brought to light. Chris gives some examples: “steaming, grilling, cooking, processing them into a quiche or pizza, raw. It is also a true power food, which is important to communicate towards consumers. One portion of Broccolini is good for the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C.” It is also important to allow consumers to taste the Broccolini, so that they can tell the difference from regular broccoli. The vegetable is an addition to the assortment. Retailers who take the renewed packaging into the assortment, and who choose to market it under the Bimi name, can count on promotional support from FV SeleQt and Coregeo. Besides the information on the packaging, which should inform consumers about application possibilities of the vegetable, the two companies also invest in the online information provision, and demonstrations. 

FV SeleQt can guarantee year-round supply thanks to two large farms in Kenya where the Broccolini is cultivated. In addition, there is also supply from Spain. “We are one of the largest Broccolini players,” says Chris. “A large part is sent to the UK, the remainder to Europe.”

For more information:
FV SeleQt
Chris Ouwehand
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