Marketing of tastier and healthier Fruits and Vegetables – an integrated approach

Labrie, C.W.; Sijtsema, S.J.; Verkerke, W.


Life span of people is increasing, while health span is not. To prevent from diseases fruit and vegetables play an important role. Despite all efforts still many people eat less fruits and vegetables than recommended. One of the challenges is to develop new products which reach consumer needs. Therefore a continuous iterative relation between the product, the consumer, and the production is needed (Linnemann et al 2006., Sijtsema et al, 2002). The aim is to present the approach and framework of an interdisciplinary research project. The purpose of this 4 year project is to increase the consumption of healthy foods by producing and marketing of tastier and healthier fruits and vegetables. This research will iteratively integrate technical expertise with insights about consumer perceptions and food choice behavior. To this end, various groups / segments of consumers will be mapped. Next to that sensory preference maps, and technical innovations in production and supply chain (e.g. innovative techniques and cultivation protocols) will be developed. The integration between these research area’s is needed to adequately serve the consumer target groups with tasty and healthy products. On the basis of this new knowledge we develop targeted technical tools such as flavor models and new cultivation protocols for tastier and healthier products. We also provide guidelines for a smarter communication with the various target groups. The method and results of the consumer survey and technical research will be discussed with participating companies during the project, where we also examine what this new information can do for the individual companies and what specific actions they can take towards more value of their products. This integrated approach of technical research, sensory and consumer research is the core of this project. The project is a collaboration between research institutes, government and the whole vegetable chain; breeders, growers and retail. The developed knowledge can be used directly during the project by the participating companies in the breeding, cultivation and marketing of value-added products.