Trends in the fresh fruit and vegetable category

Deep red plum tomato finds favour with home cooks

The coronavirus crisis has stimulated new consumer trends in the fresh fruit and vegetable category. Over recent months, for example, European retailers have seen a surge in demand for plum tomatoes as ingredients for home-made soups and sauces. A similar trend is apparent in fresh meal kits, which often include this tomato type. The deep red Plumola RZ variety offers home cooks an even better fresh produce experience.

Consumer trends

Over the past few months, Rijk Zwaan conducted research among its European chain partners to study the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The vegetable breeding company then combined the findings with broader insights into changing consumer trends. According to industry experts, the trends ‘fresh & healthy’, ‘new channels’, ‘home cooking’ and ‘localism’ are here to stay and will continue to be important after the coronavirus crisis.

Success of fresh meal kits in the Netherlands

Retailers are indeed seeing changes in consumer purchasing behaviour as a result of this shift. Shoppers appear to be buying more fresh and healthy vegetables as ingredients for home cooking. Chain Manager Maarten van der Leeden comments: “Fresh meal kits are a huge success for Dutch retailers. This trend was under way before the coronavirus outbreak, but the crisis has accelerated it. Some retailers list as many as 50 different types of kits that enable home cooks to prepare convenient yet healthy meals. Fresh meal kits make life easier for consumers.”

Better fresh produce experience for consumers

This year, both for their tomato soup and lasagne fresh kits as well as for plum tomatoes sold loose, Dutch retailers are consciously selecting Plumola RZ, a plum tomato variety with the Internal Red label. As the name implies, these tomatoes are a deep red colour – from the flesh through to the core. Besides that, they have an excellent flavour. “Both these traits add up to an even better fresh produce experience for consumers, and this has been proven in previous testing by chefs. The deep redness creates a tastier tomato sauce with a richer colour. Besides that, the high yield, good shelf life and labour-friendliness of Plumola RZ make it an appealing variety for growers,” says Van der Leeden.



On sale in Belgium as Ruby Red

In Belgium, another successful plum tomato variety with the Internal Red label is Vivolia RZ, which is very similar to Plumola RZ. The Belgian growers’ cooperative BelOrta has been selling this plum tomato under the Ruby Red label – testifying to the tomato’s intense flavour and deep red colour – since 2017. Van der Leeden: “We’ve seen a similar rise in sales of this plum tomato variety in Belgium since the coronavirus crisis. Our Internal Red plum tomatoes appear to be the perfect answer to the increased demand for fresh and healthy ingredients for home cooking.”

Stronger Together

At Rijk Zwaan, we are focused on supporting growers and partners in their efforts to produce, distribute and/or process fresh fruit and vegetables. Based on the very latest market insights, we are keen to help the fresh produce chain to adapt to the ‘new economy’ by offering tailor-made, relevant and applicable advice and solutions. If you want to know more, take a look at this article about the future expectations.