Seeking solutions to optimize efficiency and decrease food wastage
The versatile leek is a much loved and highly nutritious vegetable that people love. It can be used as a main ingredient in soups and stews, and is often found in a vegetable mix, adding flavor and texture to many of our favorite meals. But the process of getting it from field to table can be problematic, with delamination of leaves leading to a decrease in production efficiency, increase in labor time and costs, and food wastage.
VEZET, a leading vegetable processor for the largest supermarket in the Netherlands, processes over 100 tons of leek every week, and the challenge was laid bare when they expressed their desire to reduce delamination in leeks. The delamination issue can take place in the field, showing when the leek is harvested. As the leaves are cut the top and bottom surface of the leaves can separate. If the team could come up with a solution to this challenge, we could help to increase processing efficiency, decrease food waste, and improve overall quality for the consumer.
BASF listened to VEZET and saw an opportunity to improve the quality of leeks. We invited like-minded positive thinking colleagues from several departments and influential members from the food chain including growers, processors, and a supermarket supplier to join the movement and overcome the delamination challenge.
No challenge of this importance can be solved overnight, and long-term thinking and planning was needed. In 2020 a unique plan was designed to trial different Nunhems varieties in different leek growing seasons with the cooperation of three main leek growers.
The first results were shared with VEZET and factory testing was organized. Preliminary conclusions were made from the data returned from VEZET and the cultivation measures of the growers. This was combined with field-specific weather data from six locations. This combined data showed the level of trust the partners had in one another and how willing the team were to share knowledge – crucial if we were to create viable solutions.
The results were positive and gave the team the motivation to continue developing new leek varieties and confirmed the strength of Nunhems varieties, such as Krypton. This example of collaboration within the chain is clear evidence that working towards a common goal to develop ‘vegetables people love’ is helping improve all aspects of the growing, processing and retail industries.
If you’d like to find out more about our collaboration, or maybe even team up with BASF and join the movement for a better tomorrow, contact us today.
Consumer & Customer Manager, Benelux/Germany
+31 6 2482 6384