Increasing consumer confidence
Cayucos Beach combines the best of both worlds
A tasty, juicy and aromatic melon with a longer shelf life – that’s the ideal Cantaloupe melon for consumers and retailers in the USA. Rijk Zwaan introduced the Beach melon concept, which was launched in a summery beach-themed setting during the PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans in October 2017. Interest has been growing in Cayucos Beach RZ, one of the first Beach varieties, ever since.
The melon is a much-loved fruit around the world. US consumers are crazy about Cantaloupes, which have light-brown skin and orange flesh. The two available types are Shippers and Harpers. The orange-fleshed Shippers are deliciously juicy and have a rich aroma, explains David Perie, chain manager at Rijk Zwaan USA: “However, the fruits have a short shelf life; they need to be consumed within seven days of harvesting. Any longer than that and the quality deteriorates, which means considerable product losses for the retailer.” The situation is completely the opposite for Harpers, which can be consumed as long as 21 days after harvesting. But there is a downside to that: Harper melons are firmer, even when ripe, and not very juicy or aromatic. “So consumers are losing faith in Cantaloupes. They are either not flavourful enough or they spoil too quickly after purchase.”
Rijk Zwaan hopes that Beach varieties will increase consumer confidence in the product, because the new concept combines the best of both types. After harvesting, Beach melons have a shelf life of 10 to 15 days, putting them exactly halfway between Shippers and Harpers. That extended shelf life (ESL) reduces product losses in the chain. Furthermore, Cayucos Beach RZ is ideal for harvesting in the USA’s major crop-growing regions from early May to mid-October.
The biggest benefit is its flavour. Perie: “In two consumer taste tests, with over 200 participants, Cayucos Beach RZ came out on top against Harpers and other ESL varieties. It has a very good, sweet flavour reminiscent of the fresh local summer melons many of us remember from our childhood. Our melon makes people think of sun and summer.”
Melon ice cream
That all makes Beach an extremely fitting name for this concept, which Rijk Zwaan officially launched in style at the PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans in October 2017. “Our display was one of only three out of over a hundred entries nominated for Best New Product Promo. We handed out samples of Cayucos Beach RZ, served as a small melon ball atop a mini ice cream cone, and took beach-themed instant photos of visitors posing on a surfboard. This melon really captures that nostalgic sense of summer,” says the chain manager enthusiastically.
In 2018 the Beach promotional activities are being followed up with Frisbees designed to look like melons. Perie: “This will remind our chain partners that it’s almost Beach season again. We have great forecasts and sales will exceed initial expectations. It will take time for growers, traders and retailers to become familiar with Beach, and ESL melons are new to many of them. By working together, we can reduce waste while also creating a very positive consumer experience with this high-quality and flavourful melon.”