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Entire Sweet Palermo® range receives ‘Taste of the Year 2021’ award

Entire Sweet Palermo® range receives ‘Taste of the Year 2021’ award
Photo: Rijk Zwann

For the second year in a row, Spanish consumers have awarded Sweet Palermo, the dulce Italiano of Rijk Zwaan, with the ‘Taste of the Year’ seal of approval. After putting forward only the red variety of Sweet Palermo as a contender for the award in 2020, for 2021 we submitted our entire range: the colours red, yellow and chocolate. We are delighted to announce that all three colours were successful and may now display the ‘Taste of the Year 2021’ label, which is awarded for products that stand out on the shelves thanks to their unique and appealing flavour. The result was determined by a critical independent jury of consumers, who were impressed by the quality of Sweet Palermo compared with other varieties.

‘Taste of the Year’ is the only seal of approval based exclusively on a product’s flavour qualities, as tested by consumers. The Global Quality Group has been coordinating the award of these labels for more than 13 years in Spain and 20 years elsewhere in Europe.

Consumers prefer Sweet Palermo

A sensory study in the pepper category, carried out by ALS Global Iberia, revealed outstanding overall satisfaction regarding Sweet Palermo. This recognition is particularly valuable since ALS Global Iberia is an independent sensory analysis laboratory that works with a panel of 80 Spanish consumers who regularly buy and eat peppers.

The evaluation included the taste, appearance, aroma and texture of the entire Sweet Palermo range in the colours red, yellow and chocolate. The results of the sensory study revealed outstanding scores in terms of consumer preference and acceptance of Sweet Palermo.

“This new recognition is important for the Sweet Palermo brand as it confirms consumer trust in both the brand and the characteristic flavour and quality of our range,” says Javier García Rigol, Chain Specialist at Rijk Zwaan Ibérica.

The Sweet Experience

Sweet Palermo is deliciously sweet with thin skin and hardly any seeds on the inside, plus it is extremely versatile and very high in vitamin C. These characteristics have made it the consumer’s favourite, as confirmed by the ‘Taste of the Year 2021’ award. The entire range of Sweet Palermo has year-round availability.

Adding a new award to sweet palermo´s list

2012: Best Sweet Pepper in the Netherlands, award in Foodlog’s New Fresh category

2015: Product of the Year 2015 in Fresh Market category, Poland

2018: FICA Summer Event, Netherlands – recipe for red Sweet Palermo with chocolate

2020: Taste of the Year 2020, Spain

2020: Superior Taste Awards including three stars for the yellow version, International Taste Institute (recognition by the world’s most prestigious chefs), Belgium

2021: Taste of the Year 2021 for entire Sweet Palermo range, Spain

To discover #TheSweetColours, visit the website:

Choose your colour, enjoy its taste!

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Enthusiastic reactions to new Sweet Palermo colours

Enthusiastic reactions to new Sweet Palermo colours

Chain partners have reacted enthusiastically to the new Sweet Palermo® colours. Orange and chocolate-coloured variants are now available in addition to red and yellow ones within Rijk Zwaan’s brand of sweet pointed peppers. “We plan to introduce the trio of red, orange and yellow across the whole of Europe,” says Jesús Villegas from Unica Fresh.

According to Jesús Villegas, who is responsible for pepper sales at the Spanish export company Unica Fresh, the market for sweet pointed peppers is still growing in Europe. “Relevant growth continued last season. Thanks to its good flavour and texture, the red Palermo RZ is a fantastic pepper, whether cooked or eaten raw. The yellow variant is performing very well too, and has had a particularly strong launch in Germany. The arrival of the orange sweet pointed pepper opens up opportunities for a new blend that we plan to introduce across the whole of Europe. The trio of red, orange and yellow will help us to expand the market.”

Flavour and shape

Rijk Zwaan developed the Sweet Palermo brand in 2015. Appealing flavour, versatility and convenience are the three main strengths of the red Palermo RZ and have become the brand’s core values. Therefore, it has taken some time for the vegetable breeding company to develop yellow, orange and chocolate variants that are up to scratch. Marketing Specialist Heleen van Rijn-Wassenaar from Rijk Zwaan: “We’d set a high bar for ourselves. We wanted the other colours to offer consumers the same high-quality experience. We trialled the varieties extensively, testing the taste with consumer panels, the shape together with breeders and the technical traits with growers. These new colours meet all our criteria. For example, the chocolate Palermo is just as surprisingly sweet as its red ‘sister’.”

New inspirational packaging concepts

With these four colours, it is now possible to make numerous Sweet Palermo combinations. “That creates more diversification within the category. At our Retail Center in Berlin, we use techniques such as eye-tracking technology to test new packaging concepts and ideas for blends which we then offer to our chain partners as inspiration. For example, a mix of red, yellow and chocolate – which is almost black – can be used to make a blend featuring the colours of the Belgian or German flag. Various seasonal blends are possible too. We will soon be launching a campaign called ‘Colouring the Year’ to support this idea,” explains Van Rijn.

The importance of product development

Jesús Villegas from Unica Fresh is happy with such support. “It helps us during the launch. The collaboration with Rijk Zwaan around product development and market launch is very important to us. Our customers’ wants and needs are always our top priority, of course. I expect the market for sweet pointed peppers to continue to evolve and grow. Following on from Scandinavia and Germany, we’re already seeing good sales performance in Spanish supermarkets, for instance.”