Open day - New varieties to meet different climate regions and consumer preferences

The open day at Moshav Nir Chen highlighted the advantages and suitability of vegetable varieties
August 20, 2018
Open day - New varieties to meet different climate regions and consumer preferences (Enlarge)

"Hazera" specializes in developing vegetables seeds in a diversity of colours, flavours and textures to meet their growers' and distributors' requirements, and of course to hit upon consumers' tastes and also to adapt the vegetables to culinary uses.
Once a year the company holds an open day at Moshav Nir Chen. This year the event was dedicated to the local market with the aim of exposing customers to their vegetable varieties along with their advantages and suitability to market requirements.

In the Open Day framework Hazera hosted food bloggers. The Blogger community active in social networks is growing apace, extending its influence as opinion makers and their influence on consumer tastes and the creation of demand in retail chains for one variety or another. 



The tour, led by Global Tomato Product Manager Yaron Giras, began in a greenhouse where experiments are begin conducted with a large number of tomato varieties, to test their suitability for different growing conditions, and the effect of these conditions on shelf-life, flavour and resistance to diseases and pests.
Yaron spoke of the trend towards cultivating cluster tomatoes, that makes harvesting easier for growers and also that "using this growing method, the tomato's freshness, aroma, and the vitamins reaching it from the branch to which they are attached are all preserved."


The Hazera Company continues to test and improve commercial varieties such as Magnolia – a high yield variety that ripens in hot weather and is thus appropriate for the summer, while simultaneously developing new varieties like the new Simon variety that bears very bright red tomatoes. The greatest advantage of this tomato is its disease and virus resistance. This resistance is a tremendous challenge, that Hazera has invested considerable resources to cope with it.

The varieties growing in this greenhouse are primarily adapted to Israeli weather, so that their shelf-life is relatively short due to the short time required between harvest and its arrival upon the Israeli consumer's table.

By contrast, in the greenhouse dedicated to experimental varieties for export, Hazera cultivates more than 60 varieties, with long shelf-life, some of which are up to three weeks, and appropriate for overseas consumers.
Yehuda Assulin, a tomato grower from the Negev's Besor region, who also participated in the greenhouse tour, attests from personal experience to successful work with Hazera's varieties, that aside from flavour and quality, are resistant to viruses and aphids, reducing the need for pesticides and cutting costs. 

Hazera respects its customers and their ability to identify the flavour they prefer, and have therefore great resources in branding the different varieties. The branding process is intended to strengthen the identification of the flavour with specific variety, and to encourage repurchase by consumers, who will make a point of buying the variety they find tasty, thereby increasing demand for this brand.
An example of successful branding is the Dora variety tomato – a Roma type tomato. The advantage of this tomato is found in its firmness and great ease of peeling using a peeler. It is appropriate for cooked dishes and soups, as peeling it shortens preparation time. Another successful branding of a product that took off in recent years is the Maggie tomato, that has a flavour known in the market as a tomato with a perfect blend of acidity and sweetness and a rich aroma. It contains a nice quantity of green pectin, very juicy, very sweet and tasty. Maggie is sold in branded packages. 


Maggie's little sister, Whitney, is a Midi-Plum Cherry tomato, especially good for salads, with a great flavor.
The branding process has come to melons as well. Hazera is currently launching the Angel variety – a tasty, sweeter-than-honey melon. Itzik, The Manager of the Israeli Market notes that "the big advantage of Angel aside from its good flavour is its excellent shelf-life, enabling storage for about a month on the pantry shelf.

Long shelf-life also constitutes a big advantage for the grower, who can harvest the melons once or twice, which for him is a significant savings in man-power and costs. Another advantage for the grower is the melon's size, permitting packing of 6-7 melons per carton.

For the retailer chains long shelf-life is advantageous, as well as the fact that they have marketing continuity, since the melon can be obtained from June through October from crops in different parts of Israel."

Similar to tomatoes and melons, Hazera continues to market a watermelon under the Puma brand name, a bright red sweet Seedless watermelon of the Mini type, but as an international company that understands the varying tastes of its consumers, it also continues to market and develop larger types of watermelons, recognizing that each consumer will choose according his personal preference and needs.

From branding, we move on to different types of tomatoes – Hazera has many varied types of tomatoes. One particular type caught my attention, the Beefsteak tomato – large tomatoes also called 'hamburger'. Each one reaches around 300 grams. This tomato contains a lot of pulp and is thus fitting for salads; it's very popular in Greece.

Hazera sells hundreds of varieties of vegetables to more than 100 countries. Nevertheless, it is connected with its partners in the field – the growers, distributors, and consumers. It understands the needs of each one and the challenges of the branch, and therefore invests a great deal in research and development, to provide quality products that will earn profits for its partners, and will focus in on the tastes of consumers worldwide. 

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