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During this event, we will be highlighting our strong portfolio for the Asian market. For example, we will be shedding light on our Asian tomato varieties, our successful sweet pointed pepper brand called Sweet Palermo, the melon varieties under our Asian Jewels concept, and interesting lettuce concepts such as Crunchy Lettuce, Crystal Lettuce and Salanova. Besides displaying our products, we will also host a hydroponic leafy seminar prior to the event.
Join our informative hydroponic leafy seminar, where we will delve into the crucial role of technology in cultivation and inspire attendees with innovative ways to capitalize on more advanced production systems. With our experience and connections in the chain, we are able to bring partners together. Discover our strong lettuce portfolio specifically for the Asian market and gain valuable insights from industry experts sharing their expertise on stage.
Meet us there! In case you would like to know more about our programme, concepts, products or seminar, please contact:
Natalie Nguyen Jan Doldersum
From northwest Europe, Scandinavia and North and South America, to China and Japan… growers from around the world were taken on a tour of the Salatrio Client Demo in Dinteloord, the Netherlands – either in person in the case of regional visitors, or online in the case of overseas customers. Peter Sonneveld: “This shows that the concept is gaining ground internationally. It is aligned with the wants and needs of both growers and consumers. Salatrio is fresh, colourful and easy to work with, plus it has a long shelf life.”
The classic mix is a lollo rossa, a lollo bionda and an oak leaf lettuce. Sonneveld: “This year, we showcased some more robust alternatives to the lollo rossa. First, the deep red Crystal variety, Sungari RZ. It’s an open iceberg lettuce, with crisp and tasty leaves. Another option is Audex RZ, a new tasty red Salanova® lettuce which has deeply incised leaves and a longer shelf life. These varieties barely change the appearance of the classic mix, but growers and consumers will notice the difference in practice. We’re seeing interest in this upgrade from Northwest Europe, where Salatrio is already a firm fixture on supermarket shelves.”
It is even possible to create a Salatrio mix out of three Salanova types, according to Sonneveld. This looks slightly different from the classic variant, but it offers maximum convenience – which has been an important driver for consumers for years. “Salanova is a ‘one-cut, ready’ solution resulting in countless equally sized lettuce leaves. A mix featuring the dark green crispy Extol RZ, the light green crispy Exwatch RZ and the red Audex RZ makes things easier for growers and consumers alike.”
A Salatrio mix with butterhead lettuce or cos lettuce is even more innovative and can help customers to set themselves apart in the market. “It really stands out visually. A combination featuring butterhead lettuce always performs well in Rijk Zwaan’s consumer research,” Sonneveld says. A mix of differently coloured cos lettuce types also attracted attention during the demo. “Growers from Asia and North and South America are enthusiastic about novelties like this. And they have more flexibility to choose such mixes because Salatrio is still a relatively new concept for them.”
Salatrio is usually produced hydroponically in high-tech greenhouses. However, each grower’s technical situation varies, e.g. with or without LED lighting, and with fixed or mobile gutters. Moreover, low-tech or mid-tech cultivation of Salatrio is possible too. Sonneveld: “That’s why it’s so important for Rijk Zwaan to work closely with the grower. What is the technical set-up? What does the market demand? Together, we arrive at a tailor-made mix.”
Did you miss the Salatrio Client Event? During the period around GreenTech (13-15 June in Amsterdam), Rijk Zwaan will be holding a Hydro Demo to showcase new lettuce varieties including a selection of Salatrio mixes. Arrange an appointment to visit by contacting your local Rijk Zwaan contact person or read more about Rijk Zwaan’s Hydro Demo in Dinteloord!
Rijk Zwaan has expanded considerably over the past 30 years. This latest investment in soft fruit breeding represents a continuation of the company’s strategy of autonomous growth.
Breeding Manager Pieter Egelmeers explains: “Soft fruit is traditionally propagated vegetatively rather than from seeds. We are focusing on both in our breeding programme. Building on our knowledge of research, breeding and seed production, we hope to bring new and innovative strawberry, blackberry and raspberry varieties to the market that will of course add value for growers and other chain partners.”
On average, it can take between 6 and 16 years to breed a new variety. “We are still at the very beginning of our soft fruit breeding programme, so it is too early to say when Rijk Zwaan’s first soft fruit varieties will be ready to market,” says Egelmeers.
The facilities for the soft fruit breeding programme will be housed in a new building, which entails the construction of a greenhouse plus office. The new building is an extension of Rijk Zwaan’s existing facility in Dinteloord.
The vegetable breeding company is active in over a hundred countries and has more than 35 subsidiaries spread over almost all continents. The two main office locations are based in the Netherlands: one in De Lier (Westland) and the other in West Brabant. Close to Dinteloord, Rijk Zwaan has established its research and breeding location in Fijnaart.
Bert Crins (Breeder), Filip Hermans (Crop Coordinator) and Rik Van Laere (Crop Manager) all played a key role in the launch of the new leek varieties. They are keen to emphasise the importance of teamwork, since they worked together not only with numerous other colleagues, but also with various growers from seven European countries.
Van Laere explains why Rijk Zwaan’s decision to invest in the development of leek varieties was a logical one: “As one of the world’s leading vegetable breeding companies, we believe that such an important European crop belongs in our range. We want to be a dependable partner for leek growers and offer a broad and innovative portfolio in order to support their future growth.”
According to Crins, the success of this project is thanks to the effective collaboration between the Rijk Zwaan team and the growers: “We breathed new life into our leek breeding programme ten years ago. We started by identifying the market needs; that gave us a clear goal to aim for. We then gradually improved our genetics and worked towards that goal. Over the past five years, we’ve made strong progress thanks to the short lines of communication and a continuous feedback loop between Breeding, Product Development and the market. Growers in all important European leek markets ran trials with high-potential varieties and shared their findings with us. That enabled us to make any necessary changes quickly.”
Hermans adds: “We should be proud of that speed because it’s pretty unique. It meant that we could introduce the first four varieties in our range simultaneously. They differ in terms of earliness and shaft length, but they are all aligned with the market needs.”
Hermans is happy to explain more about those needs. “Leek growers are looking for labour-friendly varieties, not only because labour accounts for a big share of their costs, but also because employees are in increasingly short supply. Therefore, a leek variety must be easy to clean,” he says. “Harvest reliability is another requirement. Due to ever-tighter restrictions on the use of crop protection agents, resistances are becoming more important in the battle against pests and diseases. Needless to say, we’re focusing heavily on developing varieties with resistances against problems such as thrips and leek rust. The third challenge is climate change. Heat and drought can have a big impact on leek crops due to the long season, which is why we strive to develop robust varieties. Besides that, a leek variety must have good agronomical traits and produce a high yield.”
The four new varieties meet all of those needs. They clearly emerged from the long selection process as the high-potential varieties, Crins explains: “Floccus RZ, Nebulus RZ, Volutus RZ and Radiatus RZ were selected as the best, including based on growers’ trials.”
Hermans sums up the key characteristics: “Floccus is for the earliest cycles. It’s fast and has high tolerance to bolting and thrips. Nebulus follows on from that. It’s a uniform, labour-friendly and versatile variety. Volutus is for the late-autumn/early-winter segment. It remains short, uniform and nicely upright with a blue leaf colour. Last but not least, Radiatus is a prepack type which like Volutus is upright with blue leaves, plus it is strong against thrips.”
There are more new leek varieties in the pipeline. Rijk Zwaan is continuing to expand its portfolio. Hermans: “In the autumn of 2022 we selected several new varieties to complete our portfolio in the other segments. As soon as these varieties become commercial, they will be listed on the websites for the specific production regions. We will continue to work closely with the growers to fine-tune how to optimise cultivating our varieties in practice. Of course, our next generation of varieties will also be focused on even more harvest reliability, labour efficiency and resistances. That’s how we stay relevant in every market segment.”
To see the varieties for themselves, leek growers can visit the open-field demo in various European countries. It is also possible to trial the varieties. For more details, growers should contact their local Rijk Zwaan representative.
Heleen van Rijn - Wassenaar, Specialist Marketing Pepper at Rijk Zwaan, comments: “We are very happy and honoured to have won this prize with Tatayoyo. It’s a great recognition of our collaborative approach with customers and chain partners. Many thanks to everyone involved!”
Many visitors tasted Tatayoyo during Fruit Logistica, she continues. “They were positively surprised by the bursting flavours of this ready-to-eat snack pepper. We always strive to offer purpose-driven products that advance the market by adding value for growers, chain partners, retailers and consumers. Winning the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award shows that they want to join us in moving ‘freshly forward’. We invite our partners to explore the unknown: Tatayoyo, a tropical adventure!”
The Tatayoyo story started more than ten years ago. When breeders at Rijk Zwaan discovered a ‘wild’ pepper bursting with flavour, they immediately felt this was the opportunity to create something really different. It took years of crossing varieties to develop the first commercial version of Tatayoyo. Thanks to the intense sweetness and greater presence of aromas, Tatayoyo is a truly new experience for the pepper category. As an added bonus, Tatayoyo peppers have almost no seeds, making it ideal for snacking.
All this makes Tatayoyo the premium snack pepper that retailers have been waiting for, says Van Rijn - Wassenaar: “Tatayoyo works in both high-tech and mid/low-tech crop systems, so it can be on shelves all year round. Growers and retailers in North America have already started introducing Tatayoyo, and we would be delighted to help other partners do the same.”
“Together with our chain partners, we want to successfully introduce this product in as many countries as possible worldwide. And winning the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2023 is a huge incentive to do so.” Partners that are interested in Tatayoyo are welcome to contact Rijk Zwaan to set up trials and to prepare a marketing plan.
Winning the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2023 is a particularly special milestone for Rijk Zwaan, because it is the first time any company has won the award three times. Rijk Zwaan previously won it in 2006 with Salanova® and in 2017 with KnoxTM. “This gives us extra inspiration to keep innovating and move ‘freshly forward’ with our partners,” states Van Rijn - Wassenaar.
‘Freshly Forward, from Foundation to Future’ is the theme Rijk Zwaan has chosen to encapsulate its roadmap for tackling today’s challenges. The vegetable breeding company is moving Freshly Forward both with and for partners in the entire fresh value chain, because fresh solutions hold the key to meeting many of today’s demands. Find out more about the company’s robust and resilient solutions as well as inspiring innovations and join Rijk Zwaan in moving Freshly Forward.
Soon after this discovery, breeders started to develop resistant varieties in all worldwide breeding programmes and extensively tested these varieties internally as well as with leading growers to assess their agronomic value. Rijk Zwaan now offers growers the best performing hybrids under the Rugose Defense label, including mini plum, cherry TOV, cocktail and medium TOV tomato varieties.
Rijk Zwaan tomato varieties with high resistance to ToBRFV are compatible with all commercially available rootstocks. Trials have shown that rootstock variety Suzuka RZ performs strongly in combination with both susceptible and resistant tomato varieties.
In the coming period, Rijk Zwaan will continue to introduce new varieties suitable for high-tech and protected cultivation. Rijk Zwaan would like to thank all growers who supported the company in testing the first HR resistant tomatoes for high-tech cultivation. Keen to know more? Visit Rijk Zwaan’s Rugose Defense page and watch the introduction video.
The demand for high-quality vegetable seeds is rising in line with the growing global demand for healthy and sustainable food. Ben Tax, member of the Rijk Zwaan board of directors, comments on the financial year 2021/2022: “No matter what is going on in the world, food production remains essential. Every day, hundreds of millions of people eat vegetables that have been grown from the seeds we produce. Our vegetable breeding company has shown stable growth for many years and continues to invest in innovation and supply chain collaboration.”
As a family-owned company with a long-term vision, the company invested €160 million into R&D in 2021/2022 aimed at developing new vegetable varieties that add value for growers, chain partners and consumers.
As part of this continuous innovation, Rijk Zwaan breeds vegetable varieties that achieve a higher yield for growers, are more resilient for the effects of climate change, and have resistances against plant diseases so that the use of chemical crop protection agents can be reduced.
Nevertheless, the world – and certainly the horticultural sector – is not without difficulties. For example, the exceptionally high energy costs are a big headache for greenhouse operators in Northern Europe, and a number of customers in the Netherlands have already been forced to close. Meanwhile, the soaring inflation levels are posing challenges in some parts of the world. Thankfully, the Dutch government has stepped in to partially compensate consumer households for sky-high energy bills.
The Rijk Zwaan annual accounts were filed with the Chamber of Commerce on 9 November 2022.
In China, the pink beef tomato Kawaguchi RZ is becoming more popular every day as consumers recognise its unique quality in terms of colour, size and taste. “There is a high demand for these large, pink tomatoes in Shanghai,” explains Yang Shaojun, a grower at Youyou Agricultural Company. Rijk Zwaan is showcasing Kawaguchi RZ at Asia Fruit Logistica from 2-4 November in Bangkok.
Youyou Agricultural Company is located in Chongming, Shanghai, where the company has 20 hectares of semi-closed glass greenhouses in which it produces tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and lettuces. Besides striving for a high yield of high-quality crops, the aim is to train a new generation of growers with a passion for horticulture.
Grower Yang Shaojun is proud of his beautiful tomato crop: “Since 2020, we have been continuously planting Kawaguchi RZ and we will do so again in the next production season, because the variety has unique characteristics.” He explains that Shanghai consumers are attracted by the perfect pink colour, the consistently high Brix and the unique flavour.
Consumers in Shanghai appreciate these characteristics, Shaojun explains. “That’s why there is a high demand for these large pink tomatoes. Kawaguchi RZ meets all consumer requirements for pink tomatoes.” He adds that retailer Dingdong sells Kawaguchi RZ by the brand name ‘Ka Ku Qi’ in China. “Isn’t that a cool name? I believe this variety has great future potential in the Chinese market. We have confidence in Kawaguchi RZ,” he states.
Kawaguchi RZ is not only an attractive option for consumers, but it’s also good for growers, according to Jan Doldersum, Manager Chain & Retail at Rijk Zwaan: “The market needs the right resistances, yield and uniform size – and importantly, this variety has all those characteristics too. So the growers are happy, and in the end that results in happy consumers.”
To reach those consumers, the Rijk Zwaan team provides additional support in horticultural projects by connecting growers with retailers. This partnership is part of the strategy that Doldersum describes as the ‘golden triangle’. “This comprises the seed company, the grower and the retailer. As the seed company, we connect and bring together retailers and growers. We can help retailers to have a stable supply and year-round quality, plus we can enrich their assortment in the form of new, colourful products like Kawaguchi RZ. Asia Fruit Logistica is the perfect place to get connected.”
To stimulate retailers, traders and other chain partners in Asia to add more colour in the fresh produce category, Rijk Zwaan will showcase its colourful palette of bright, healthy and inspiring vegetables at Asia Fruit Logistica from 2-4 November in Bangkok. Come and meet us at stand F-17!
The four colours of Rijk Zwaan’s Sweet Palermo sweet peppers have made their way to China thanks to Dole. As one of the world’s largest food companies, it combined promotional activities in Olé supermarkets with online content on TikTok to inspire Chinese consumers to taste them for themselves. Vivian Wang, Director of marketing Dole China: “Colourful vegetables are rich in nutritional value and attract consumers’ attention.” Rijk Zwaan is showcasing Sweet Palermo at Asia Fruit Logistica in Bangkok from 2-4 November.
“Our business covers more than 70 countries,” Wang states. “Consumers around the world trust our products, and we are committed to maintaining that trust by providing them with the safest, healthiest and highest-quality food.” Dole Asia Fresh, which is headquartered in Singapore, is a pioneer in growing, purchasing, packaging, transporting, distributing and marketing selected fresh fruits throughout the Asian market. It is particularly well known for its extensive range of fruits, but the food company has also gradually expanded its activities in vegetables, including with Sweet Palermo.
Colours attract attention
Dole decided to market the four colours of Sweet Palermo – red, yellow, orange and chocolate – in China because of the uniqueness of the concept. “It makes a good first impression on consumers. Bright colours directly attract people’s attention, which can stimulate demand,” explains Wang. “At the same time, colours represent rich nutritional value to a certain extent. Additionally, they can allow consumers to be more creative in the kitchen. We’re keen to help consumers experience the happiness that these attractive fresh vegetables can bring to themselves and their families.”
To promote tasting, a campaign was planned in 12 Olé supermarkets across 11 Chinese cities. Wang: “We had the opportunity to introduce Sweet Palermo to consumers face to face and inspire them with this unique product. Most consumers are willing to try new things. The sweetness and colourfulness of the products received high praise. At the same time, consumers shared their ideas on how to prepare Sweet Palermo. Despite the impact of the pandemic, our overall campaign was very successful.”
Online promotion through TikTok, Alibaba and WeChat
Because consumers in Asia associate pointed peppers with being hot and spicy rather than sweet, it’s necessary to change this mindset through intensive communication about the sweetness of Sweet Palermo. Dole is supporting the in-store campaign with online content to achieve this. “Firstly, in-store promotion gives consumers the opportunity to taste the products directly, which eliminates their doubts. Secondly, we are working with key influencers to present and explain the products online through channels including TikTok, Alibaba and WeChat. This seems to be having a very good effect.”
Dole China’s Director of marketing is pleased with the support from the Rijk Zwaan team. “They are a sincere and efficient team. It is pleasant and exciting to cooperate with them. We discussed the set-up and implementation of the entire supply chain together. From planting and harvesting to packaging, logistics, sales and marketing, we communicated and shared resources at each step. In particular, we can benefit from Rijk Zwaan’s experience with Sweet Palermo in other countries in order to accelerate the promotion and development of the whole project in China.”
Double the sales in two years
Wang is optimistic about the future for Sweet Palermo. “After two years of developing the market, we have every reason to believe that demand for the colourful Sweet Palermo will continue to grow. We will further strengthen our online promotional activities and consolidate existing offline sales channels. We are striving to double the sales in the next two years.”
Visit Rijk Zwaan at Asia Fruit Logistica
To stimulate retailers, traders and other chain partners in Asia to add more colour in the fresh produce category, Rijk Zwaan will showcase its colourful palette of bright, healthy and inspiring vegetables at Asia Fruit Logistica in Bangkok from 2-4 November. Come and meet us at stand F-17!
Rijk Zwaan is taking innovation to new heights in snack cucumbers by focusing on high wire varieties with the combination of Powdery Mildew (PM) and Cucumber Green Mottled Mosaic Virus (CGMMV) resistance. This is the latest development in the company’s ever-growing range of flavour some snack cucumbers in various sizes and colours, all with the best possible resistances to help growers harvest a healthy crop.
Rijk Zwaan has been leading change in the snack cucumber market for nearly 20 years. Since introducing Quarto RZ – one of the first varieties of snack cucumber – in 2005, Rijk Zwaan has worked with growers and listened to consumers to breed new varieties that are not only agronomically sound and productive, but also delicious and visually appealing. “Developing varieties with resistances takes time but it’s an important role we play as plant breeders,” says Marcel van Koppen, a Dutch-based crop specialist at Rijk Zwaan. “Growers face pressure from a number of diseases such as mildew as well as viruses that can have serious consequences for crop viability. In 2019, we enhanced the snack cucumber range with the introduction of Quayal RZ as a PM-resistant version of Qwerty RZ. We’ve now taken our range to the next level once again by asking our breeders to develop snack cucumber varieties with a combination of PM and CGMMV resistances. This will be a significant improvement for growers and other value chain partners.”
It is important to keep the segment fresh and exciting, since in some markets more than 35% of consumers eat snack cucumbers. One of Rijk Zwaan’s new varieties is Quirk RZ, a unique bi-coloured ‘baby apple’ snack cucumber with a sweet taste and good shelf life. Additionally the company has made further improvements in the smaller cucumber segment, resulting in the development of one-bites as well as a white-skinned variety which looks very striking in snack cucumber medleys. Clearly, the sky is the limit when it comes to developing cucumbers that will delight consumers!
Rijk Zwaan continuously conducts research into new cucumber varieties, important resistances and technical characteristics. From generation to generation, the company maintains an ongoing dialogue with growers to anticipate new challenges in changing cultivation conditions, such as high wire. That’s why most of the company’s current varieties are suitable for both umbrella and high wire systems. The future is sky.
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Khoo Peng Keat, Director of Food Forest Farm, loves everything that Rijk Zwaan’s snack brand SN!BS represents the concept, the range, the colours and the diversity. It’s a good fit with the Malaysian family-owned company, which is focused on sustainable production methods and grows flavoursome, distinctive, top-quality produce. SN!BS is part of Rijk Zwaan’s Colourful Life palette.
“In our 40-hectare integrated township development, we have a team of over a hundred people growing crops on seven hectares of agricultural land. Tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce are the most important ones – they are grown in high tunnels, partly in soil and partly in cocopeat or using the nutrient film technique (NFT). The past two years have been challenging due to COVID-19, because we’ve had to adapt fast, increase flexibility and respond rapidly in everything we do. We have set up independent business units in Malaysia and Singapore. We have also specialised in more premium varieties, colours and taste options. All of this helps us to meet the increased demand for healthier food”, says Khoo Peng Keat, Director of Food Forest Farm.
“Choosing to start with SN!BS has given us the opportunity to grow a very premium range selected with careful attention in order to address consumer wants and needs. The snack vegetables in the SN!BS range are colourful and flavoursome, usually small and delicate, and offer a variety of tastes as well as textures. We love absolutely everything that SN!Bs represents: its concept, range and diversity. The snack category in Malaysia and Singapore is a fairly new category, but it is fast becoming very popular as more consumers are beginning to choose healthier snacking options.”
“We are currently growing and supplying SN!BS snack tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and lettuces, and we will introduce an exciting celery variety in the near future. In addition to the choice of colours – red, orange, yellow and green – each of the varieties selected has a different shape, size or other characteristics. This experience has been very enjoyable and exciting as well as meaningful for us. The SN!BS range is full of surprises and it has been really fun for us to grow, distribute and sell SN!BS snack vegetables.”
“Our customers really love the colours as well as the versatile nature of the range. They find SN!BS easy to consume as they can be eaten raw, grilled or used in salad mixes. Some customers even use them as fresh, edible decorations. Many are asking us what we will grow next and we shall continue to surprise them with more selections. Colours are very important in inspiring consumers. We are surrounded by colours in today’s digital age, when live experiences are being shared constantly. Food presentation has also become very important and the trend of taking photos of our food before eating it is here to stay.”
“For me, colours can impact moods and emotions and inspire creation, which is so important in food preparation. Colourful vegetables are beautiful and cheerful. Colours in vegetables are natural, rather than being mixed from a Pantone chart using software. I believe this is why everyone is so drawn to the beauty of naturally colourful vegetables. Additionally, colours in vegetables are associated with being a source of nutrients and antioxidants which are great for health. Therefore, I believe that there will always be a keen interest in colourful snacks, which will continue to drive market growth.”
“Working with Rijk Zwaan on the development and market launch of SN!BS gave a great sense of purpose to our work as a grower and supplier of fresh vegetables. Innovative, positive, open and full of trust – that’s how I would describe our current partnership with Rijk Zwaan. Both parties value creativity, speed to market, and sincere and authentic work. In the future I expect our partnership to become even deeper, with more possibilities opening up for creative engagement. That will bring more choice in the range and variation of fresh produce to Malaysia and Singapore quickly and efficiently.”
To stimulate retailers, traders and other chain partners all over the world to add more colour in the fresh produce category, Rijk Zwaan will showcase its colourful palette of bright, healthy and inspiring vegetables at a series of international events, including Fruit Logistica from 5-7 April in Berlin. Come and talk to us, either in person or online via live studio meetings!