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Stories - 07-04-2022

How to make vegetables more appealing

As vegetable breeding company we look for ways to make vegetables more appealing. We do so by combining our breeding expertise with sensory research and consumer research, and we also work together with chain partners. Annette Meeder, a taste researcher at Rijk Zwaan, shares four examples.

Not just flavour, but the whole experience

“We all want our food to taste good, of course. But besides taste, the appearance of the vegetable plays an important role too,” says Annette. Rijk Zwaan conducts extensive sensory research to learn precisely what contributes to the vegetable eating experience for consumers. “Every type of vegetable has its own unique characteristics. In the case of a fresh carrot, for instance, it’s important that they hear a ‘crunch’ when they bite into it. It is about the whole experience.”

Vegetables as healthy snacks

Snacking is an ideal way for people to eat vegetables throughout the day. “Not all countries are at the same level of maturity worldwide, but snack vegetables are growing in popularity in many of them. Snack vegetables are suitable for combining into attractive mixes too, such as snack tomatoes in various different colours, mini peppers or even combinations with mini cucumbers or other types of vegetables. Through research and breeding we develop vegetable varieties that are suitable for producing snack vegetables in terms of an attractive colour, shape, size and flavour.”

Inspiring recipes, information and origin details

“Most people already know that vegetables are good for their health, but that knowledge doesn’t always help them to increase their vegetable consumption. Sharing recipes, interesting facts and information about the origin of vegetables is a way of inspiring consumers and therefore of removing obstacles to vegetable buying,” continues Annette. That’s why we share vegetable-based recipes, tips and interesting facts about vegetables on our Love my Salad platform. 

Own vegetable patch

There are many different sources of inspiration, including growing your own vegetables. “School vegetable patches – where pupils sow seeds, care for the plants and ultimately harvest the vegetables themselves – are a great way to introduce children to vegetables at a young age. That way, you lay the foundation for a healthy diet during childhood. The experience of growing vegetables and the knowledge gained while doing so always comes in handy in later life.” It is for that reason that Rijk Zwaan supports various vegetable patch initiatives.

The International Year of Fruit and Vegetables

By officially declaring 2021 to be the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) hopes to generate more awareness for the important role of fresh produce in people’s diets. It will also increase the focus on how the fruit and vegetable sector is helping to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, such as ‘Zero Hunger’. As a vegetable breeding company, we wholeheartedly support this campaign. If you are keen to discover more about the role breeding plays in ensuring that fresh and appealing vegetables are available for people worldwide, take a look at https://www.rijkzwaan.com/international-year-fruit-vegetables.