Flavor is the future
In vegetable breeding, it is common to focus on features like yield, resistance and shelf-life to support growers and satisfy retailers. But what about the people eating our fruits and vegetables? For them, we have another focus: flavor!
When people say they love fruits and vegetables, what are they usually referring to? Taste! Flavors they love! That’s why, at BASF's vegetable seeds business, we breed for flavor, to make sure that people consistently get the delicious taste they expect.
“The challenge is to strike the right balance – between classical breeding goals such as yield, resistance, and shelf-life and the right flavor. The goal is to develop varieties that are profitable for growers, attractive for retailers, and enjoyable for everyone, therefore promoting healthy eating,” explains Eben Ogundiwin, Crop Technical Lead Cucurbits.
That’s why BASF's vegetable seeds business makes sure to talk to our customers. We talk agronomic factors with growers, processing considerations with processors, and retail requirements with retailers. But we also talk to the people eating our fruits and vegetables.
We initiate panels, send out samples, and collect feedback to determine what people enjoy eating. We also share this information with our other partners, such the retailers and growers, to establish a full cycle understanding of what is needed from seed to table. “We work in customer teams with specialists from many different areas to cover the requirements of all elements along the value chain,” says Heinz Ebel, Consumer and Customer Manager at BASF. “Because no matter how great the agronomic profile is – if it’s not tasty, people won’t buy it again.”
Using this approach, we were able to boost watermelon consumption in Brazil with our brand Pingo Doce®. Not only does this watermelon taste great, but we worked with retailers and growers to create a partnership that ensures Pingo Doce is available year-round. We have also played a key role in turning around the declining sales of melons in Europe with our Galkia® melon that boasts superior taste validated by consumer panels.
These are only a few examples of how flavor increases demand for healthy eating options. They showcase how agronomic factors, retail requirements, and amazing taste can all come together in one, great product. And we will continue to develop fruits and vegetables that people can rely on, knowing that they will always get consistent quality and flavor they love.