Eminent challenges ‘mother nature’ in constant search for new and surprising
“Pass on Colour” is the name of the campaign and ties in with the United Nations International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. The aim is to increase awareness about the important role of fruit and vegetables for a sustainable and healthy society. ‘Glastuinbouw Nederland’ regularly lets companies have their say about the way in which they pass on color and health. In report 2: the chain links Eminent Seeds, Produce and Food.
If there is one company that takes the transmission of color very literally, it is Eminent from Wateringen/Poeldijk. With Eminent Seeds, Produce and Food, the company started 35 years ago by Jan van Heijningen already has three links in the chain towards the consumer. It is the younger generation that explains the vision of the company – now owned by the Best Fresh Group – in scents and colours. Niels Koolstra on behalf of Eminent Seeds (centre) and Ruud Zwinkels of Eminent Food (left in the photo).
“What does the market want, that is the crucial question that forms the basis of our activities”, opens Niels. Naturally, the breeding branch receives input from the globally operating Best Fresh Group, but certainly also from Eminent Food. “I’m in the office one day a week with the Eminent Food sales team. The lines couldn’t be much shorter.” This does not alter the fact that the development of new varieties is and remains a long-term process. “We have a lot of data with regard to production per square meter, resistance, taste, shape and shelf life. Add to that the fact that as a specialist company we want to be creative and distinctive and the complex picture has been outlined. So it takes six to ten years before you can put a new, promising product on the market.”
Cooking demonstrations ‘down under’
New and surprising, that must be Eminent’s innovations. “A tough challenge” Niels has experienced for two years now, “because it is difficult to conquer shelf space in the supermarket.” Nevertheless, Eminent has been making good progress in the ‘snack and taste’ segment for years. The baby block pepper Tinkerbell and the mini tomato Tomberry are the most striking examples of this. Sales have grown significantly in the past year, perhaps also as an effect of the corona pandemic. New countries have discovered our berry tomatoes.” The Australian retail chain Woolworth is the most appealing example, with 350 stores now offering the product, supported by cooking demonstrations. The combination of the ‘pop effect’ of the mini tomato, the sweet-sour ratio and the excellent shelf life explain the added value of the Tomberry. Ruud Zwinkels also experiences this, who has daily contact with his customers on behalf of Eminent Food. “We have products with a story. You can convince end customers with that. We breed from the constant challenge of ‘mother nature’ to surprise us: what else do you have in store for us? Of course we use our huge database of genetic material, but the outcome of a cross is always exciting and uncertain.”
Room for investment
Between Seeds and Food is Eminent Produce, their own cultivation company where part of the production takes place, but where mainly novelties are tested in practice on a large scale. Sweet peppers, tomatoes and chili peppers are the segments the company focuses on. For example, last year Eminent introduced a wonderful line of sweet point and snack peppers.
Eminent Food consists of seven employees, who are responsible for purchasing and sales and for the supply chain. “We share sounds from the market via an internal newsletter. This also includes customers. Through clear communication, the three links of Eminent remain strongly connected”, Ruud explains. He indicates that sales are made entirely through exporters. “You should never become a competitor of your own customers. What we do do is inform and inspire end customers through trade fair participation, for example.”
“In the air”
On the one hand, the COVID-19 period has brought a lot of good in the past sixteen months, but there is also a temporary downside. “We had just signed a contract with a major airline for the Tomberry in all their salads”, says Niels with pride. “That was mainly due to convenience, because you don’t have to cut the tomatoes and because they don’t lose their flavor in the fridge. But when the planes start flying again en masse, the Tomberries fly with them. In this way we pass on colour, taste and shape in a special way.”
The ‘Pass on colour’ campaign runs from World Health Day on April 7 to World Food Day on October 16. For more information, visit the website www.Geefkleurdoor.nl. A toolbox is available for companies in the sector. See also: http://www.geefkleurdoor.nl
Source: Glastuinbouw Nederland