Bellaverde - Monsanto's Sweet Showstopper

By E. Freeman 1/7/2010

It’s sweet and slender and loves both warm and cold weather. It’s unique and interesting, and definitely adds its own flavor to things. Although it was born in the United Kingdom, it will soon have homes in five European countries.

But this isn’t the latest supermodel or your new best friend. It’s broccoli.

Monsanto’s new type of broccoli, trademarked Bellaverde® broccoli, has been nominated for the 2010 FRUIT LOGISTICA Innovation Award. FRUIT LOGISTICA is Europe’s most important trade show for the fruit and vegetables business and Monsanto’s vegetable seeds division will be present at the show in February 2010 to display its wares and talk with industry partners, customers and professionals. An expert panel of judges nominated Bellaverde® broccoli as one of ten most innovative introductions throughout 2009.

 “Bellaverde® was developed in a trial field in the United Kingdom,” Eva Seisveld, consumer trait account lead for EMEA, said.

“Our breeders developed a broccoli of which the main head is harvested in an early stage in order to develop young side shoots. These side shoots are hand picked after just 10 days of growth and have a delicate, fresh, sweet taste-- unlike any other broccoli variety.”

The trademark was developed together with selected partner Marshalls, a UK -based produce supplier. Bellaverde® broccoli was launched in the UK in July 2009.

“Just six months after the launch, Bellaverde® is available in more than 500 supermarket stores (Sainsbury’s and Waitrose) in the UK,” Seisveld said. “Unlike any other stemmed broccoli, it can be grown in both warm southern as well as cooler, northern European climates, allowing our retail partners to tap into the increasing demand for local produce and minimising food miles.”

The 2010 FRUIT LOGISTICA Innovation Award will be presented at the world’s leading international trade fair for fruit and vegetable marketing in Berlin from February 3-5 2010. bellaverde® broccoli, along with nine other nominations, will be presented in a special exhibition area. Visitors at the show can vote for their favorite innovation.

“We are very excited about this nomination,” Seisveld said. “It is an affirmation of all the hard work we have done to develop and promote bellaverde® broccoli. We have some strong competition, but feel that bellaverde® makes a good chance of winning the award.”

The Bellaverde team, consisting of breeders, technology development, the consumer trait team, marketing and sales, is currently working on launching bellaverde® in Spain, Italy, Germany, Nordic countries and the Netherlands in 2010.

Bellaverde broccoli was developed by skilled plant breeders using cross pollination and selection and without the use of genetic modification.

“As Bellaverde® proves to be a hit in the UK and in market tests in other countries, retail partners have started to realize it is a “must have” addition to the current vegetable offer,” Seisveld said.

In addition to the nomination for the FRUIT LOGISTICA Innovation Award, Bellaverde® broccoli was recently awarded the Food and Drink iNet Food Processing Faraday Award for Most Innovative Large Food and Drink Manufacturer. "Lots of determination and effort has been shown to create a new breed of broccoli to be grown in the UK, rather than import one,” a judge for the innovation award said.

“We are extremely proud of this award. It’s a big compliment to our seed breeding department and to Marshalls,” Carl Rentes, business development lead for EMEA, said. “Together with selected growing partners we strive to launch tasty, healthy and profitable products. This award confirms our beliefs and strengthens us to continue the development of high-potential products.”

For more information on Bellaverde® broccoli, visit www.bellaverde.co.uk or www.bellaverde.co.uk/why/