Enza Zaden is working on the development of new snack vegetables that will appeal to children and adults alike. This is done on several fronts, for example by participating in a broad research project launched by Wageningen University & Research Centre whose aim is to obtain a better understanding of the factors determining the demand for snack vegetables.
“The research focuses on several aspects,” Enza Zaden’s post-harvest researcher Anne Marie Schoevaars explains. “First of all, people must enjoy eating snack vegetables. So taste experience and taste measurement are important research topics. We work with different consumer tasting panels, one of which consists of a specific group of children aged 12 and 13. We also inventory consumers’ wishes and expectations in relation to different consumption times and situations, for example at home or on a train. It’s a very exciting and helpful project.”
Breeders and selectors can use the information obtained in the project to fine-tune their programmes and gear them more specifically to consumer requirements. So Schoevaars has great faith in a healthy future. “In northwest Europe vegetables are still consumed predominantly as part of the hot meal. There are still many opportunities for encouraging children to enjoy sensible snacks at other times of the day, too. And now that we are also working more with tasting panels here at Enza Zaden we should be able to achieve success in the future.”