Wednesday, May 06, 2015

In the footsteps of leek


Focus on pre-packed Leeks
Pre-packed leeks consist generally of three trimmed leeks packaged and sold in weights of 400, 500, and 750 grams.
Packs make for easy handling in stores, are refrigerator-friendly, and easy to promote.

The origins of the pre-packed leek
During the late 1990s, leek growers had a problem with uniformity. While oversized leeks went to the wholesale market, the majority of harvested crop was sold as loose leeks on supermarket produce shelves, and small leeks were either left in the field or thrown away depending on the type of harvesting method.

Innovators decided that small leeks should be used, and came up with the idea of packaging and selling them as a discount line in the supermarkets they supplied. Some growers invested in flow wrap and multi-head weighing machines, progressing to printed packaging.
As pre-packed leeks started to gain momentum in the marketplace, more products was needed. In the early 2000s, growers modified growing methods to produce more pre-packed leeks, direct drilled at high density, and looked for hybrids that would produce the best product.

Supermarkets like how well pre-packed leeks can be promoted in-store, raising sales during key periods with discounts promoted by a large red and white price tag.

Over the last 12 months pre-packed leeks have been used in price wars between discounters and major supermarkets in the UK, leading to a change in focus to pre-packed leeks in all stores, and much less emphasis on loose leeks sold in open boxes.

Pre-packed market share has increased to 80% in 2015, up from just 30% in 2007.

The pre-packed leek breeding program has been an important focus area for Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds, with the introduction in 2015 of the Linkton F1, which joins the Longton F1 and Lexton F1 in the hybrid leek product line.

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