The snack vegetable radish mix: colourful, healthy, and Best Product of the Year

In the Nederlandse Consumentenverkiezing (Dutch Consumer Election) of 2023-2024, the AH Snack Vegetable Radish Mix, for which Hazera produces and breeds the radish seeds, has been elected as the Best Product of the Year in the category of potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. Dirk-Jan Polak, Crop Specialist in radishes, lamb’s lettuce, and baby carrots, sees the award as a compliment for the entire chain behind this product. “You help people make healthier choices.”


According to Dirk-Jan, the success story of the radish mix begins with genetics. “This ensures that we can continuously deliver high-quality seeds, allowing the grower to produce an excellent final product. Our radishes are beautifully round, have good internal quality, and grow very consistently during different seasons and weather conditions.” As a market leader in radish seeds, seed quality is a top priority at Hazera. “Credit for this goes to the breeders,” says Dirk-Jan. “Through continuous development, we have been able to introduce distinctive radish varieties to the market.”

 

Unique combination
In addition to genetics and seed quality, it’s the ability to produce radishes in various colors that makes the difference. “Purpella F1 and Whitella F1, purple and white radishes respectively, are the only two colored radish varieties cultivated on a serious scale. And they come from Hazera.” Combined with the well-known red radishes, these colored varieties form the AH Snack Mix. An idea from grower Ortolanda, says Dirk-Jan. “The mix of various colored radishes, sold in top seal packaging, aligns with the growing demand for snack vegetables, Ad Coolbergen, managing director of Ortolanda, explains.

 

Growing together
“We always keep the consumer in mind, on whose plate our product ultimately ends up. That’s why the collaboration throughout the chain is so important.” Dirk-Jan refers to the cooperation between Hazera, Ortolanda, Bakker Barendrecht (a Greenyard company) and Albert Heijn, from which the award-winning radish mix originated. “Breeding, developing, growing, and marketing these types of products requires craftsmanship.” Ad confirms this. “The successful introduction of a new product in the market requires good chain collaboration, where everyone is on the same page. This way, we can collectively meet the market’s needs and respond to consumer trends.”This has been excellently achieved with the radish mix, says Dirk-Jan. “The trend for 2024 is healthy snacking, where people choose vegetables and fruits instead of candy or chips. This radish mix perfectly addresses this trend, fulfilling two important consumer needs: healthy and convenient snacking.” Ad expects the mix to appeal to an entirely new, mainly younger, target audience. The radishes look appealing, are healthy, and are ready to eat straight from the container. With this product, Albert Heijn makes healthy snacking accessible.” Hazera and Ortolanda are both proud to contribute to this.”

 

Stay on track
Dirk-Jan is optimistic about the future, both in terms of the product and within the chain collaboration. “Radish is a beautiful vegetable that helps people make healthier choices. The fact that the AH Snack Vegetable Radish Mix has been chosen as the best product is a recognition that, with our breeders and partners, we are on the right path and an encouragement to continue the constant development of such products.”

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Hazera's new High-tech tomato greenhouse

Cultivating the future: Hazera’s new High-tech tomato greenhouse

Hazera has recently acquired a new high-tech greenhouse next to our headquarters in Made, the Netherlands. According to Yossi Shapiro, Head of R&D, this acquisition marks a significant step in Hazera’s journey to establish a strong position in the high-tech greenhouse tomato industry. He gives insight into the acquisition process, goals in research and development, and what Hazera can offer to the high-tech tomato market.

“Our goal to establish ourselves as one of the leaders in the high-tech tomato market with our mid- to long-term plan, as there is strong competition there”, Yossi says. “This goal was the primary motivation to invest in a state-of-the-art active tomato greenhouse, as you need the best facilities to compete with the best.” Hazera is empowering its tomato portfolio worldwide through the new high-tech tomato project with the strong support of Limagrain’s vegetable seed division. As the largest company in the vegetable seed industry, Limagrain Group has significantly invested in this project.

Hazera's new High-tech tomato greenhouseBackyard transformation
Yossi says multiple options were considered, such as renovating existing facilities or building a greenhouse from scratch. “But the answer was right in our own backyard: to buy an industry-grade, commercial greenhouse operation, that we can readily transform into a research facility with the help of our experts.” André van Zeijl, the previous owner of the greenhouse, has been an independent grower for over 25 years.
He has a lot of experience and will support the transition to a research facility.

With advanced technology and a focus on producing clean seeds through good seed and plant practices (GSPP), Hazera aims to elevate its research capabilities. Another important advantage of acquiring an existing facility, is sustainability. Re-purposing the greenhouse in Made, rather than building a new one, suits Hazera’s strategy of caring for the planet that helps us grow extraordinary seeds. We take our responsibility for the environment very seriously. Hazera has a lot of know-how and experience in breeding high-quality varieties that can be grown with reduced input. It’s great to see that a company like Hazera has such a strong focus on sustainability.

Experts in resistance, yield and taste
When talking about Hazera’s position in the high-tech tomato market, Yossi notes that “We also bring something very valuable to the table: our expertise in developing tomato varieties with strong resistance to diseases, particularly in response to ToBRFV, combined with excellent yield and taste. This can really equip growers to manage their biggest challenges. A great example of this is Pendragon, one of the ToBRFV-resistant varieties that we’ll be growing in the greenhouse. In addition, this greenhouse provides us with the opportunity to further improve yield, fruit quality, and commercial appeal of those varieties, and to implement the innovative techniques and technologies which will increase our efficiency, enhance the R&D outcomes, and accelerate time to market.”

“The Netherlands is the birthplace and center of the global high-tech tomato industry, so it is a natural location for us to launch this program”, Yossi continues. “But the goal of all our efforts is to develop hybrid high-tech tomato varieties to meet the evolving needs of our grower customers, wherever they may be, so they can serve the needs of their customers. When consumers are enjoying tasty and healthfully tomatoes grown from our seeds, we can say that we’ve been successful in our mission.”

A vision for tomorrow
“The heightened level of control and optimization in the high-tech greenhouse environment ensures that we can replicate production conditions under which we want to evaluate the varieties we are developing and advancing. That way, we aim to bring innovation and improvement to high-tech tomato markets around the world.”
“By combining our new active greenhouse research facility in Made, the expertise we have in developing leading tomato varieties, and our experience in customer engagement, we expect to play an important role in the high-tech tomato industry”, Yossi concludes. “There’s an exciting opportunity to grow this part of our business, and it starts with R&D.

Want to know more about our business?

Follow us on our social media channels to stay connected with our Hazera people! If you have any questions left, don’t hesitate to ask them via our contact page!

 

Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2024

Staay Food Group and Hazera Seeds present new watermelon

Exceed mini watermelon nominated for Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2024

The Exceed mini watermelon has been nominated for the 2024 Fruit Logistica Innovation Award, marking a proud moment in the long-standing partnership between Staay Food Group and Hazera. The winner will be announced at Fruit Logistica in Berlin (7-9 February), where Staay will be present to premier the Exceed watermelon.

Mark Loojenga, Marketing Manager at Staay Food Group, and Michal Taraska, Global Value Chain Lead at Hazera, discuss the product, the partnership and what to expect at the Food Logistica.

EXCEED mini watermelon nominated for Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2024
Exceeding expectations

According to Mark and Michal, the Exceed watermelon has earned its nomination through a unique combination of qualities that benefits growers, retailers and consumers. “The Exceed watermelon is a durable and eco-friendly variety, with strong resistance to diseases like powdery mildew and has plants that provide multiple harvests. Not only does this make life easier for the grower, but it also requires less fungicides and significantly less water than the production of traditional watermelons”, Mark says. Michal adds that this also helps reduce food waste: “Exceed makes it possible to reduce losses in production and during transport.”

“And due to the variety’s extended shelf-life of over 5-10 days longer than traditional watermelons, this variety displays a long-lasting freshness in both supermarkets and consumer’s homes”, he continues. With its compact, uniform size the Exceed watermelon answers a strongly growing call in the (Northern) European and American markets for smaller watermelons. “The size is suitable for ever smaller households and easy to keep in the fridge. And they’re seedless, which is both a major convenience for consumers and a waste-saver.” Mark adds. “But it’s the taste and color they come back for.” Michal: “The Exceed mini watermelon has a really sweet and crispy taste, as is shown by its above average Brix level.”

Team effort
The Exceed mini watermelon is the latest success in a long-standing collaboration between Staay Food Group and Hazera. “Staay is a strong and dynamic partner, which is key for successfully introducing a new product to the market”, Michal says. He underlines the importance of such a partnership for Hazera. “We can provide the best Formula One car, but we still need a top-class driver to win the race. In Staay Food Group, we’ve found that driver.”

An analogy Mark wholeheartedly agrees with. “Hazera provides top-quality seeds that are perfectly suited for our fields in Costa Rica. And with this newly developed variety, we perfectly reflect the demands of the market; we’re able to grow the right products. The Exceed mini watermelon is another step in our close and fruitful cooperation.”

Premier release at Fruit Logistica Berlin
The premier release of the Exceed mini watermelon for the European market will take place at Fruit Logistica, where Staay Food Group will be present at stand B45 in hall 3.2. “Here, we will also display a selection of other products we grow and offer ourselves,” Mark elaborates. “For the first time we can show our three club varieties of colored pears together: The Red Conference, Early Desire and Dazzling Gold are all exclusively available through Staay Food Group. Secondly, we show our hydroponic lettuces, and finally our wide range of available vine tomatoes. In addition, we will bring special attention to our branch in Venlo, which focusses on the food service industry. This location provides a quite unique service for the German market, where customers can buy products per box instead of per pallet and can combine different products on one pallet. This is ideal for restaurants, who usually don’t need entire pallets of one product.”

The prize-giving ceremony for the innovation award will take place on 9 February 2024, 2.30 p.m. at the FLIA Technology special exhibition area between Halls 1.1 and 2.1. Mark and Michal agree this nomination “shows we are on the right track in our team effort to successfully align the development, cultivation, sales and marketing of excellent and innovative products.”

Staay Food Group B.V.
Mark Loojenga
Marketing Manager
+31 6 13 80 89 81
mark.loojenga@staay.nl
www.staay.nl
Hazera Seeds B.V.
Rosaline Hazenbroek
Marcom Specialist
+31 6 28 09 60 68
rosaline.hazenbroek@hazera.com
www.hazera.com


Staay Food Group
is an international cultivation, sales and marketing organization in fresh fruit and vegetables with a global network; The World is our Garden. Staay Food Group is a family business, founded in 1946. It delivers tailor-made products to customers in retail, wholesale, foodservice and processing.

HAZERA: Growing Together
Hazera’s headquarters are situated in Israel and The Netherlands, with subsidiaries in twelve countries and an extensive distribution network providing services in over 100 additional markets. This worldwide presence enables us to be close to our customers.
Hazera is part of the Limagrain Group, an international agri-business based in France. Being a farmers’ cooperative, the Limagrain Group understands the needs of its customers and has grown to become the largest seed company in Europe, specialising in vegetables, field crops and cereal products. Limagrain’s vegetable seed division is the second largest company in the industry.