23 Aug 2018

Crop innovations on show at Asia Fruit Logistica

A year on from the introduction of the award-winning Knox™ trait, there’s more good news for the entire chain as the delayed pinking characteristic is now bred into an a new range of Salanova® lettuce – meaning fresher leaves for longer and potential export opportunities.

Rijk Zwaan’s new ‘one cut ready’ Salanova include butter, crisp, oak, and coral lettuce in reds and greens. New varieties feature Knox, the trait developed through conventional breeding techniques that delays the browning of cut surfaces in lettuces.

This is a game changer and good news for everyone in the chain, according to Rijk Zwaan’s Retail and Trade Account Manager, Frances Tolson.

“Bite-sized leaves are cut from mature heads, which not only gives you a smaller cut surface and a more visually appealing leaf, but also a fantastic taste and texture,” Frances said.

“Growers will benefit from incremental improvements, processors and retailers can take advantage of better inventory management, stock control and decreased waste while consumers can enjoy lettuce leaves that stay fresher for longer.”

The extra boost to leaf quality sees prospects outside of Australia.

“This product really opens up export opportunities because we have leaves that stays fresher for longer,” Frances said.

“The difference is clearly visible and it really points out how valuable the Knox trait is. This will grow the category even more.”

Research indicates that an Australian consumer’s “ideal” salad mix contains a proportion of three green lettuce leaves to one red lettuce leaf and this can now be created the new Salanova varieties with the Knox trait. This means consumers can reap the benefits of high quality leaves.

“We know a positive consumer experience will lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat purchases within the category. Recent research showed that 30 percent of non-purchasers could be won over if the right leaf mix was available to them,” Frances said.

“What we are doing now is driving innovation, listening to consumers about what they actually want, and working with our growers and partners to give consumers the quality leaves they’re looking for.”

The new leaves will be on display at Asia Fruit Logistica, alongside other crop innovations.

“Innovations in baby crunchy cos are also stimulating a new snacking segment for lettuce, which can broaden the success of snacking vegetables,” Frances said.

“Snacking cos lettuce is a fantastic addition to the range because the leaves can serve as edible cups for hot and cold toppings. Our portfolio includes well-known snacks such as tomatoes, cucumbers capsicum, and also baby carrots.”