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Current Position:Home » News » Marketing & Retail » Topic

Retail takes the lead in promotion of green pumpkins

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2016-11-18  Views: 16
Core Tip: The month of October is traditionally pumpkin season.
The month of October is traditionally pumpkin season. The bright orange Halloween pumpkin often takes up all the attention at this time. Erik Vesseur of seed breeding company Takii Europe believes this is undeserved. “It’s time for North West Europe to meet the green, originally Japanese, Kabocha pumpkin. Thankfully, there is increasing support from retailers.”

Green colour seems unripe
In North West Europe consumers still overwhelmingly opt for the orange pumpkin. This is in stark contrast to Japan, where almost all pumpkins for consumption are green. The country is a fervent buyer of the Kabocha pumpkin. “A matter of habit,” suspects Erik. “Ignorant customers often think that these pumpkins still have to ripen or colour at a first glance,” he says from experience. “Unnecessary, as the Kabocha’s peel is naturally green. If you cut it in half you can see the nice orange flesh.”

Yet the perception of green pumpkins in the Netherlands is slowly but surely changing for the better. “Partially due to Italian cuisine, in which the Delica pumpkin is popular, the trend is slowly taking hold. It’s a standard variety for the Mantovese kitchen in the north of Italy, where the pumpkin is used as a basis for sauces and to give pasta dishes more body. The Japanese kitchen is also popular. Here the Kabocha is processed into small slices of pumpkin with the peel still attached to go through salads. Besides the great colour effect, the dark orange flesh with the green peel, it also gives it a bite, with a nutty flavour and firm structure.”

Long shelf life
Takii sells seeds to Dutch growers who are currently mainly using the green pumpkin cultivation to close the hole that is created as soon as the season for orange pumpkins is over. “Orange pumpkins can be stored until November-December after harvest. The green variety is very suitable for long storage, in particular the variety Sweet Mama. It offers a bridging period until March/April. Within breeding they are working on orange pumpkins with a longer shelf life, but within the current supply the opportunities are fairly limited.”

Retail creating more support
To increase the publicity for green pumpkin varieties, the seed breeder is going all out. After previously visiting well known fairs such as Fruit Logistica, Erik sees that retailers are increasingly embracing the green pumpkin and are creating a larger platform for it. “There are countless applications in which supermarket chains can take a leading role in the area of communication. It’s a lovely colourful BBQ veg and also very tasty baked with other vegetables.”

“In the presentation we can take a leaf out of the book of the Japanese retail. Because a pumpkin weighing a few kilos is often too big for a single household, it’s common to sell pumpkins in portions, quartered and packaged in cellophane. This way the consumer can also judge the inside and see that it is a ripe product. This can only positively influence the perception of consumers. And it fits in well with the European market demand for smaller, easier to handle pumpkins. In that respect Japan doesn’t differ much from North West Europe: the households here are also becoming increasingly smaller.

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