The story of Jésus Villegas

Enthusiastic reactions to new Sweet Palermo colours

Sweet Palermo new colours

Chain partners have reacted enthusiastically to the new Sweet Palermo colours. Orange and chocolate-coloured variants are now available in addition to red and yellow ones within Rijk Zwaan’s brand of sweet pointed peppers. “We plan to introduce the trio of red, orange and yellow across the whole of Europe,” says Jesús Villegas from Unica Fresh.

Growing market

According to Jesús Villegas, who is responsible for pepper sales at the Spanish export company Unica Fresh, the market for sweet pointed peppers is still growing in Europe. “Relevant growth continued last season. Thanks to its good flavour and texture, the red Palermo RZ is a fantastic pepper, whether cooked or eaten raw. The yellow variant is performing very well too, and has had a particularly strong launch in Germany. The arrival of the orange sweet pointed pepper opens up opportunities for a new blend that we plan to introduce across the whole of Europe. The trio of red, orange and yellow will help us to expand the market.”

Flavour and shape

Rijk Zwaan developed the Sweet Palermo brand in 2015. Appealing flavour, versatility and convenience are the three main strengths of the red Palermo RZ and have become the brand’s core values. Therefore, it has taken some time for the vegetable breeding company to develop yellow, orange and chocolate variants that are up to scratch. Marketing Specialist Heleen van Rijn-Wassenaar from Rijk Zwaan: “We’d set a high bar for ourselves. We wanted the other colours to offer consumers the same high-quality experience. We trialled the varieties extensively, testing the taste with consumer panels, the shape together with breeders and the technical traits with growers. These new colours meet all our criteria. For example, the chocolate Palermo is just as surprisingly sweet as its red ‘sister’.”

New inspirational packaging concepts

With these four colours, it is now possible to make numerous Sweet Palermo combinations. “That creates more diversification within the category. At our Retail Center in Berlin, we use techniques such as eye-tracking technology to test new packaging concepts and ideas for blends which we then offer to our chain partners as inspiration. For example, a mix of red, yellow and chocolate – which is almost black – can be used to make a blend featuring the colours of the Belgian or German flag. Various seasonal blends are possible too. We will soon be launching a campaign called ‘Colouring the Year’ to support this idea,” explains Van Rijn. 

The importance of product development

Jesús Villegas from Unica Fresh is happy with such support. “It helps us during the launch. The collaboration with Rijk Zwaan around product development and market launch is very important to us. Our customers’ wants and needs are always our top priority, of course. I expect the market for sweet pointed peppers to continue to evolve and grow. Following on from Scandinavia and Germany, we’re already seeing good sales performance in Spanish supermarkets, for instance.”

Would you like to know more about Sweet Palermo? Go to www.rijkzwaan.com/solutions/sweet-palermo