New markets and innovations

New markets and innovations

The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture of Wageningen University & Research is a service provider on flavour and health of vegetatables and fruits. We do contract research for all partners in the horticultural chain. Our consumer panels, trained expert panels and laboratory measurements can help you to add value to your products. We see flavour as a carrier for health.

Using new knowledge, we develop tools that companies can use for further development and marketing of better tasting and healthier products. Our knowledge and experience can help you raise healthy ingredients in products.

Increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables

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“Flavour as a Carrier for Health” is the slogan of “Tasty Marketing”, a research project on consumer oriented product development of fruits and vegetables. The goal is to increase the consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables.

Tasty products with added value

In a consortium with seventeen business partners we develop tools that allow for the marketing of tasty and healthy products with added value. Several different target groups of consumers were identified for this project. We develop technical innovations for both cultivation systems and production chains to adequately serve these different consumer target groups with tasteful and healthy products. We develop flavour models for various products as well as new growth protocols to secure the levels of healthy product compounds. This project is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) supported by the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs.

Healthy compounds in fruit and vegetables

Photo: System to increase vitamin C in tomato during cultivation.
Photo: System to increase vitamin C in tomato during cultivation.

Tomatoes contain twice as much vitamin C when illuminated with LEDs during fruit development.

Consumers are willing to pay more for healthy products

Many food products are marketed as “healthy” because they contain fruits, Vitamin C or are “rich in antioxidants”. Research shows that two thirds of the consumers are willing to pay a premium for healthy products. So there must be great opportunities for adding value to fruits and vegetables, which contain these compounds by nature. Our knowledge and expertise may help you to increase and secure levels of health related compounds in your fruits and vegetables.

Can healthy compounds be increased?

The business unit Greenhouse Horticulture studies, in close collaboration with private companies, how the levels of healthy compounds can be increased in fruits and vegetables. Next to choosing the right varieties, the cultivation method also may have a great influence. We showed that through the usage of LEDs the level of vitamin C in the fruit can be doubled.

Measurements in our labs

We may conduct different measurements also on your products, like Brix value, titratable acid, vitamin C content and ORAC value (total amount of antioxidants). Other measurements are presently in preparation. We also act as a hub, and freeze you samples for subsequent analyses in specialized Wageningen labs. Our customer reports may combine the several data for you in one simple overview. This is how we can help you to add values to your products.

New concept: Pepper – People, Planet, Profit

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In a pilot project with several private companies and the Ministry of economic affairs, we aimed at developing a distinctive pepper which scores high on People, Planet and Profit.

Working together for distinctive varieties

Three disciplines (e.g. flavour, cultivation and marketing research) were integrated in this pilot. Together with the private companies, twelve distinctive varieties of peppers were selected for this study. Our consumer panel screened the flavour and visual appearance. A focus group described several product associations and generated different suggestions for preparation. We also investigated the resistance to aphids, the vitamin C content and the amount of antioxidants present. We developed three candidate concepts and experimented with these concepts in shops. The results were shared with a group of innovative pepper growers.