31 May 2021

Producing food that is good for you and the planet

Pretty to look at, bursting with flavour and helping to increase vegetable consumption, a new product from the Rijk Zwaan tomato snacking range will have tongues wagging at Hort Connections this year.

Adding to our already exciting line-up of snacking vegetables, Frances Tolson from Rijk Zwaan is thrilled to re-connect with everyone again and introduce our sweet tasting and beautifully coloured five-snack tomato medley.

“The varieties have subtle but distinct differences in flavour, shape, bite and texture and have an average fruit weight of 10-15 grams. Not only are they sustainably purpose bred to perform in the same greenhouse environment, but they’re strong against splitting and offer good shelf life,” Frances said.

These tomatoes are just one product in our line-up of innovations that Rijk Zwaan is busy investing in.

Producing food that is good for you and the planet_tomato medley_01

“Innovation in vegetable breeding has already contributed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through environmental, social, and economic outcomes and as an industry we all need to communicate these benefits better,” Frances said.

Continuing within the snack category, Tendita RZ is a newcomer to the lettuce market. This baby Cos lettuce was especially developed to retain its firm and crunchy bite, even when placed alongside warm fillings, negating the need for one-use disposable containers. The permanent crunchy texture, good taste and distinctive leaf shape offer new sustainable solutions and possibilities in the modern kitchen.

“Speaking of lettuce, our new Iceberg, Corvinas RZ with Knox ™ is an exciting sustainable introduction that lends itself to both the processing and fresh market sector. This robust and well-layered variety is more tolerant to unfavourable weather conditions,” Frances said.

The real advantage of this variety is that it contains the naturally occurring Knox™ trait, which delays pinking on cut surfaces by several days. This means that the leaves remain fresher for longer as the oxidisation on the cut leaf surface is minimised and can help reduce waste. This is one of the first commercial Iceberg varieties we have in the Knox™ line and it’s brilliant.”

Knox is now bred into our range of Salanova® varieties, offering a convenient solution for processors with its forkable sized leaves.

“Developed with consumers in mind, Salanova® refers to a range of fresh, tasty, crunchy and extremely convenient lettuce varieties, where each one can provide many delicious, baby-sized leaves from a single cut!”

“The huge advantage is they can be mechanically harvested in the field or cut as whole heads, transported, and processed in the factory. Either way the result is uniform, fresher leaves for longer thanks to Knox, making them ideal for supermarkets and the food service sector.”

The leaf types in the Salanova® range include Butter and Oak, which tend to be milder and tender, while the Coral, Crispy and Batavia types offer sweet and nutty flavours, vibrant colours and have less water content, so the leaf integrity is maintained for longer when placed alongside warm foods.

Rijk Zwaan’s focus has always been on creating sustainable, tasty and beautiful vegetables for growers, retail and trade, and consumers. We are expanding our ‘Sensational Flavours’ range to include a selection of additional varieties with exceptional flavour.  

“As featured in our new 2021 catalogue, the award-winning (Taste of the Year 2021, Global Quality Group) Sweet Palermo, from our Sensational Flavours range can be produced under protected cropping conditions and now comes in a variety of colours including red, orange, yellow and chocolate.”

“We also have a sustainable micro seeded tiger-striped watermelon. Tigrinho RZ offers growers a high yielding, sweet, and crisp fleshed melon for the markets, as well as an excellent pollinator due to its prolific and extended flowering. How fantastic is that!”

Our latest sustainable innovation is CleanLeaf®, a new generation of eggplant variety with very few trichomes on its stem, leaves and calyx. Its cleaner habit enables growers to harvest more insect resistant fruit in an efficient and predictable way through less corrective spraying and improved working conditions.

To hear more about Rijk Zwaan’s international approach to breeding sustainably, Hort Connections attendees are invited to view a pre-recorded presentation by Rijk Zwaan’s Manager of Retail and Trade, Jan Doldersum, in the Trade Show presentation area on Wednesday 9 June from 8:40 – 9:00am. You can also read more about Rijk Zwaan's sustainability approach here.

“There are so many developments in this space and we are extremely proud of the work we are doing in aligning our activities to the United Nations sustainable development goals.”

Rijk Zwaan will be at Hort Connections from June 7-9, stand 320. Come along and have a chat to Frances about our latest innovations.