The multinational, which leads the watermelon market in Europe, is introducing new concepts to its melon line, such as the Pearl range which features cantaloupes that show their optimum point of readiness to eat, as well as promoting its line of mini Christmas melons for the export market, among others.
“BASF is a firm advocate of flavour”. This was the categorical statement from Enrique Ballester, BASF’s Account Manager for melons, being the sine qua non condition for the launch of any variety on the market by the agricultural seeds division. This condition is followed by greater resistance and “basic characteristics” such as the fruit’s productivity and uniformity. This working philosophy can be extrapolated to the entire melon and watermelon range, which BASF will be showcasing once again at a new edition of its Melon & Watermelon Business Trends for Experts, which will be held from 30 June to 7 July at the company’s R&D centre in Cartagena (Murcia).
On this occasion, the multinational is focusing its efforts on introducing its new concepts and varieties in the traditional export range to sector professionals, such as the Charentais and cantaloupe melons and its mini Christmas melon line, now in a convenience-style format that adapt to both foreign and domestic sales.
With regard to cantaloupes, BASF is introducing the Pearl range with which it aims to “make a difference”, according to Ballester, who explains that their objective is to “offer producers an unmistakable sign of readiness to avoid complaints at the retail level, given that when the melon reaches the consumer it should be at its optimum point”. Hence the melon ranges from a greyish hue to an attractive cream colour.
The multinational is also continuing to strengthen its range of cantaloupes with magenta flesh with a new variety for the early growing season: the Magverik F1*. In addition to its hardiness and resistance to mildew and aphids, Magverik F1 is very versatile. “This is a dual purpose variety, intended for both fresh sales and processing, thanks to its higher percentage of dry matter and the very characteristic colour of its flesh, which is more and more in demand for the pre-prepared fresh cut segment”.
With regard to the traditional Charentais, this year BASF is introducing two new varieties: Eclair F1* (for early season) and Torum F1 (for mid-season). The former stands out for its early ripening and calibre, and the latter for its organoleptic quality and resistance to mildew and aphids.
New varieties of Christmas melons
BASF continues to consolidate its range of mini Christmas melons for export, in which there are two varieties (Kumara F1* and Kudoru F1*) that cover the Spanish production season from 1 June to 30 September, as well as the counter-season in Brazil which runs from 1 October to almost as late as March. This line adapts the archetypal Spanish melon to a more convenient format which is ideal for the export market, and even for the domestic market now that small family units are the norm. This adaptation has managed to retain all the time-honoured Christmas melon flavour.
The traditional Christmas melon range has been increased for La Mancha with Rockero F1*, a very tasty melon with crispy flesh and a very good post-harvest performance. “It has a commercially-attractive calibre of 3-3.5 kilos”, explains José Ramón Naranjo, Melon Sales Specialist at BASF, who reiterates its unique flavour: “It’s got a different mouthfeel, crispy, but with lots of flavour, intensity, and a good level of sugar”.
Leaders in the watermelon market
BASF is synonymous with flavour in watermelons. “It’s our hallmark”, confirms Pere Montón, Watermelon Account Manager, adding that despite having achieved the highest standards in the market, “we continue to work on introducing new varieties to meet current market trends”.
In this respect, Montón explains that “our flavour base comes from our range of varieties for fresh sales”, with references such as Boston F1, Bengala F1, Fashion F1, Style F1 and Stellar F1. From that starting point, BASF has raised the bar and launched its Gem range on the market (Sun Gem F1 and Moon Gem F1), aimed at high-end own-brand projects and consumers “who are looking for a sensorial experience and a refreshing explosion of flavour with a different mouthfeel”.
In its mini and midi versions, and once again without losing one iota of flavour, the varieties on offer include Premium F1, Kaori F1 and Frilly F1, in addition to Hiromi F1 and Kalanda F1, currently in full expansion phase.
Dual purpose and processing
BASF were pioneers in introducing the so-called ‘dual purpose’ varieties to the market; in other words, suitable for both fresh sales and processing. The company thus anticipated the huge surge in the sale of quarter- and half-portions in the domestic market, without relinquishing watermelons with the optimum calibre for the fresh sales market. Bazman F1 and Harmonium F1 are their benchmarks in this segment.
Finally, with the aim of ensuring that “fresh-cut customers enjoy exactly the same quality as fresh watermelon buyers”, BASF is developing a new line of ultra-firm fleshed melons, making sure to retain that deep red colour. The Nun 31707 WMW F1* is the first commercial variety but will certainly not be the last, given that there are already another two in the pipeline.
BASF is thus adapting its already wide range of melons and watermelons to new market trends without relinquishing flavour, with the sole objective of offering consumers a healthy, attractive and sustainable foodstuff and at the same time guaranteeing repeat business. Because who said that healthy eating must be boring? Not BASF: we make healthy eating enjoyable and sustainable.
* APC granted and in the application process for inclusion in the EC Common Catalogue of Vegetable Varieties.
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. More than 110,000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €59 billion in 2020. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com.
About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2020, our division generated sales of €7.7 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.