04 Jul 2019

Smaller vegetables to combat wastage

Smaller households have a need for smaller vegetables as a means of reducing food wastage. The demand for organic and unpackaged vegetables is growing in this respect. These are the findings of a study conducted by vegetable and fruit distributor The Greenery and vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan.

These consumer needs have been developed into a retail concept of small-sized vegetables, for example, for conical cabbage, cabbage lettuce and broccoli. A pilot for the sale of these vegetables in a Dutch supermarket was recently initiated.

Consumer research conducted by The Greenery and Rijk Zwaan shows that smaller vegetables can be one way of reducing vegetable wastage. Both companies accepted the challenge and today, as a pilot, are bringing a product range consisting of some 20 smaller vegetables, including conical cabbage, broccoli and lettuce, onto the market. These vegetables are not only smaller-sized than the standard version, they are also available as organic vegetables and in unpackaged form. The new vegetable concept is referred to as 'Little & Fresh'. The pilot is expected to quickly gain momentum.

Small vegetable varieties

The vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan has devoted efforts to developing smaller vegetable varieties for a number of years. "Developing smaller vegetable varieties may sound simple, but not every vegetable variety is suitable for this. Furthermore, growers, retailers and consumers want a uniform product. Using breeding techniques we have been able to develop a number of vegetable varieties that meet all requirements and that are also smaller. This way we respond to consumer needs and hopefully this will help consumers reduce the amount of vegetables they need to throw out," says Heleen Bos, Specialist Marketing Organics at Rijk Zwaan.

Unique chain project

The Greenery works demand-driven and connects parties in the chain. "Together with Rijk Zwaan and Naturelle's growers, we have created a unique chain project in which the entire chain, from seed supplier up to and including the consumer, is involved. In addition to all of the insights this produces, it also creates a lot of energy," Harm-Jan Eikelenboom, Marketing Manager at The Greenery, proudly indicates. "With 'Little & Fresh' we want to make a further contribution to increasing the consumption of organic vegetables and fruit and creating a sustainable community. The concept will be further optimised over the coming period on the basis of consumer response and chain insights."