On Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award was presented for the 11th time. More than 70,000 visitors to the trade fair were invited to vote for their favorite out of the 10 nominees, and Rijk Zwaan is extremely honored and proud to announce that Knox emerged as the winner, according to a press release.
“This award is the icing on the cake following more than 10 years of intensive breeding work, says Bauke van Lenteren, leafies marketing specialist. "We wholeheartedly thank the visitors for their votes and our chain partners for their faith in Knox."
Knox is a natural trait in lettuce that Rijk Zwaan first introduced in September 2015. Following more than a decade of breeding work, Rijk Zwaan has developed lettuce varieties with delayed pinking along the cut edges. This trait offers significant benefits for the whole chain, including less waste at processing companies and retailers, according to the release. The trait can also encourage consumers to purchase fresh-cut lettuce more often because it now has a longer shelf life.
Knox has attracted plenty of attention during this year’s Fruit Logistica in Berlin, Bauke van Lenteren said. “Visitors have been pleasantly surprised," he said. "We’ve developed Knox in direct response to what processing companies wished for most. Sales of fresh-cut and bagged lettuce have been growing strongly for years, but pinking is a problem. Now, Knox substantially extends the shelf life. Furthermore, for retailers, the advantages include improved inventory management and less waste. They’ve told us that a fresh product with just one extra day of shelf life results in 25 percent less spoilage, and that’s why they are so enthusiastic about Knox. During Fruit Logistica, there has been tremendous interest from growers, processing companies and retailers from all over the world.”
The roll-out of Knox will continue throughout 2017. Processing companies in the UK, Switzerland, Poland, Australia and the United States are already working with Knox lettuce varieties, and growers, vegetable processing companies and retailers in other countries are in the midst of trials. In the meantime, Rijk Zwaan will continue to develop new types until all the main lettuce varieties have the Knox trait. The Fruit Logistica Innovation Award – the most important accolade in the international fruit and vegetable sector – provides the company with extra encouragement to pursue that goal.