A FIRST industry look and hands-on “play” with lettuce leaves reiterates that the new range of Rijk Zwaan Salanova with the added benefit of Knox is the answer to consumer demands for better quality leaves in their salad mixes.
At Hort Connections 2018 in June, attendees got a taste of Rijk Zwaan’s new butter, crisp, oak, and coral Salanova varieties in both reds and greens.
The varieties feature Knox, the characteristic developed through conventional breeding techniques that delays the browning of cut surfaces in lettuce by several days.
Retail and Trade Specialist, Frances Tolson, said industry was impressed by the quality of the Salanova leaves, and similarly to recent consumer research, when asked to create their perfect four-leaf salad mix, most people chose bite-size lettuce leaves.
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“We had a range of salad leaves on display and we asked people to choose a four leaf blend as their ideal mix,” Ms Tolson said.
“People loved the leaves and the range of textures, colours and flavours on offer, and the soft Salanova butters showed up in almost every mix.
“This has demonstrated first-hand, with our peers and with leaves right in front of them, that what they are choosing backs up consumer research.”
The research also indicated that consumers want leaves that stay fresher for longer.
“People have come to our stand and been amazed to see the difference between the Knox material and the non-Knox material in terms of the browning of the non-Knox material,” Ms Tolson said.
According to Rijk Zwaan, the whole supply chain benefits from the Knox trait.
Growers will benefit from incremental improvements, processors and retailers can take advantage of better inventory management, stock control and decreased waste, while the consumer can enjoy lettuce leaves that stay fresher for longer.
Ms Tolson said consumer feedback suggests there are gains to be made.
“We’ve done the research that says that 30 percent of non-purchasers could be won over if the right leaf mix was available to them, and we know a positive consumer experience will lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat purchases,” Ms Tolson 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.
“This will grow the category even more. That’s really pointing out how valuable the Knox trait is.”
- Copy supplied by Rijk Zwaan.