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Rijk Zwaan Wins Fruit Logistica Innovation award for Second time

February 12, 2017

The visitors to the Fruit Logistica 2017 have spoken and assigned the highly awaited Innovation Award to the Dutch firm Rijk Zwann for the second time for its Knox – Delayed Pinking Cut Lettuce. The new product, which reduces the pinking (discolouration due to oxidation) in Lettuce after cutting, can extend the shelf-life of lettuce by one or two days and thus offers a solution to one of the greatest challenges faced by the fresh-cut industry and retailers of bagged lettuce alike.

As the prize was announced a howl of joy went up from the representatives of the winning team. The excitement in the voice of Jan Doldersum, Marketing and Business Development Manager at Rijk Zwaan Distribution B.V. " as he delivered his acceptance speech was palpable: “Thank you! That's fantastic. We are extremely proud and honoured. Thanks to everyone who voted for us and a special thank-you to our team, of course. And last but not least, I'd like to thank all our partners in the value-added chain – they've helped us by explaining the benefits of our development,"

To date Rijk Zwan has successfully introduced Knox, which has taken 10 years to develop, into around ten varieties of lettuce, with the advantage of not only reducing waste by extending shelf-life, but also reducing costs as Knox lettuce does not require low-oxygen packaging.

The runners up by an extremely close margin were Cracking Monkey Pili Nuts from the German company, Die Frischebox.  The nuts, which have a particularly hard shell that cannot be opened using conventional nut crackers, are sold together with a stainless steel lever made from recycled cutlery that is inserted into pre-sawn groves in the shell, making it easy to get to the high in Vitamin-E Filipino nuts within. Everything about the packaging is environmentally friendly, from the cotton pouch to the ink used for the fabric printing.

In third place came the innovation with the awww factor: the Natupol Excel – Bumble Bee Vision from the Dutch Koppert Biological Systems. The technology in this small cardboard box acts as a navigation aid for greenhouse bumblebees during the darker winter months and in artificial light, helping them find their way back to their hives and allowing them to put all their energy into the pollination of fruit and vegetable cultures: what was described during the award ceremony as an airport for bumblebees.

The ten contestants had already undergone an arduous selection process from among a myriad of applicants by a panel of experts, leaving the final decision up to the 70-plus thousand visitors over the first two days of Fruit Logistica.

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