Prominent, the Dutch growers’ association whose motto is ‘Success through partnership’, has been an innovative tomato specialist for almost 25 years. With 30 growers producing tomatoes on 380 hectares, the association supplies top-quality tomatoes all year round, mainly to the German retail channel. For the production of cocktail tomatoes, the growers have been working with Brioso RZ for years, but the collaboration with Rijk Zwaan extends further than that variety alone, explains Wim van den Berg, Marketing Manager at Prominent.
“The cocktail tomato is a strong product in the tomato category because it offers value for money. It’s one of the 13 segments that Prominent supplies all year round, in addition to other truss tomatoes and snack tomatoes. There is a lot of diversity in the tomato category, and breeding has played a role in that. Varieties such as Cappricia RZ and Brioso RZ have facilitated sales growth throughout the whole of Europe. When is a variety ‘good’? When it’s a valuable product for each and every link in the chain. It must be a stable crop, generate a big enough yield and be well-suited to lit production. The colour and appearance are very important for retailers, while consumers are looking for an aromatic flavour and the right size, because a cocktail tomato is a perfect salad ingredient. Brioso RZ has all that and more, which is why the variety has a long product life cycle.”
“To maintain our strong position in this competitive market, we continually monitor the preferences of growers, retailers and consumers. We can’t afford to just trust our instincts; quantitative and qualitative data must be leading. If the preferences change, we respond accordingly. We’re gathering ever-more data and sharing knowledge with Rijk Zwaan. We have a long-standing relationship that goes beyond just choosing varieties. At Rijk Zwaan’s Retail Center in Berlin, for example, we’ve organised sessions for Prominent growers about the German retail sector, the positioning of Brioso RZ and consumer choices. The Retail Center is an excellent place to take a step back from the product and look at the category as a whole. And we’re not looking for market niches, but rather for future volumes.”
Tomato event for bloggers
“We do other things together too. In June last year, we collaborated with Love my Salad – Rijk Zwaan’s social salad network – to organise a tomato event in Rotterdam for food bloggers, and the cocktail tomato played a key role. We invited food bloggers from Germany and Austria, and Prominent growers talked very passionately about their own experiences in sustainable tomato production. In fact, we should make more use of that kind of ‘storytelling’. We let the bloggers taste the tomatoes for themselves – even the crown. We asked them, ‘What can you really taste?’ A chef ran an inspiring tomato workshop and demonstrated all kinds of ways to prepare and use the product. We hope that these and other activities will further boost the popularity of this versatile tomato.”