Thursday 21 September 2017

What does the future of peppers look like?

Are peppers a superfood? Which pepper goes best with drinks? Is there such a thing as 'beer peppers'? The consumption of peppers is on the rise. How do we best play into this as a sector to guarantee a healthy future. Are we all offering a super healthy and super fresh product? How do we ensure that the consumer chooses to buy peppers?

Syngenta organised the Pepper Event - What does the future of peppers look like? on September 12. During the event they looked at different trends in the sector, both in the area of production and consumer behaviour. This was all intended to inspire the sector to succeed in the future.

Unforced atmosphere, inspiring presentations, a lot of interaction and discussions, special location

In the afternoon around 50 invitees from the entire sector got together on the SS Rotterdam. Upon arrival it was clear that Syngenta has its place in the pepper sector. As a seed breeder, Syngenta is second worldwide in the block pepper, with varieties for all kinds of cultivations in all types of climate.

Participants were received with a cup of coffee and a sweet treat on the boat before the actual programme started.

Kurt Lefebvre, Vegetable Seeds Business Unit Head of Syngenta looked back at 150 years of innovation in Syngenta, where, with a lot of knowledge, passion and a strong team, they are working on peppers every day. With the recently introduced red Gina, a variety with strong potential, Syngenta clearly indicates that they want to participate in the red pepper market.

After a short, playful quiz that sharpened the wits of the participants, Patrick Zwaan (Rabobank Horticulture Sector Manager) provided an overview of the Dutch pepper sector, where the opportunities are and how they can work towards a robust business in 2026. Rabobank sees a lot of growth potential in the sector and is very active in guiding companies.

Rik Lootens, Global Portfolio Manager at Syngenta, then took a look at Southern Europe: production areas, sales strategies, developments and evolution. This brought forward where the opportunities are for the Dutch pepper grower!

Edwin Vels (a Consumer Data Expert) took the audience into the world of the consumer and how they look at products in the supermarket. He explains what commodity goods are and how we can better position our healthy, good quality, fresh pepper in the supermarket. His presentation "The shopper and user moments are central! Growth through differentiation in assortment" made the participants think. No one wants to pay too much for sugar or petrol! The same goes for ordinary peppers! But they might be willing to pay more for a (forgotten) homegrown superfood, which has a lot of variety in its use! Through researching who buys and consumes what and when they do it, the sector can profit from a better image and strong market/price development. Obviously through excellent collaboration in the sector. 

After the presentations there was good interaction between the audience and the speaker, where there was a lot of interest for the topics discussed. Finally, all participants could enjoy a buffet dinner in an unforced and friendly atmosphere. Discussions continued with a lot of enthusiasm: participants had been made curious, inspired and made conscious of the challenges that the entire sector has to mobilise. Mission accomplished!

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