One of the new developments from BASF for this year is its commitment to develop new brands with its watermelon line, GEM
Quality watermelon brands are always welcome on the market, as this means a greater professionalisation of the sector is guaranteed. Nunhems, the horticultural seed division at BASF, has been committed to this for many years and it continues to support brand initiatives that are aimed at continuing to guarantee high quality, mainly based on flavour. “In fact, we are committed to the appearance of new brands with our range of varieties from the GEM line,” explains Pere Montón, Account Manager.
In the second campaign during the Covid-19 pandemic, Nunhems, probably the only company with varieties in the 4 main segments (fresh, double aptitude, mini/midi and convenience), continues to evolve normally. “We have only detected a few slight changes where certain types are rising, but this is due to trends that we had been detecting for some time now.”
The continued cutting of watermelons in stores is allowing them to continue working with a range of medium/large calibre watermelons, guaranteeing maximum quality for consumers, mainly with Boston F1, Bengala F1, Bazman F1, Style F1 and Stellar F1. On the other hand, they have detected a growth in the sales of mini/midi pieces with micro seeds, particularly to cover watermelon export programmes, where Kalanda F1, Premium F1, Frilly F1 and Hiromi F1 continue to be leaders. Another aspect worth mentioning is the growth of Harmonium F1 in medium-sized triploids. “We have obtained the ideal variety, because in addition to covering the requirements of the most demanding consumers, it also guarantees good conservation, maintaining the organoleptic parameters in a stable way over time.”
Nunhems is leading a trend reversal in double aptitude materials. “The aim is to develop and market varieties that guarantee convenience food consumers the same organoleptic quality as fresh food consumers.” Up to now, the processors selected varieties mainly for a single parameter: the lack of water in the processed product. But they needed varieties that also guaranteed a deep red colour, a more enjoyable texture and above all, improved flavour. Bazman F1 and Harmonium F1 meet this stability on the colour-flavour-texture balance.
According to José Ramón Naranjo, International Sales Specialist for Melon, there is a growing trend in convenience consumption for increasingly smaller, more practical-sized fruit, mainly for export, but also on the home market. Nunhems continues developing the Kukino brand with the piel de sapo melons Kudoru F1 (1.5-2kg) and Kumara F1 (2.5-3 kg), which have seen a considerable growth in surface area thanks to their homogeneity of size and high quality, with excellent results in trials.
Additionally, this year they are introducing Rockero F1* (3-3.5kg) for La Mancha, with high flavour and firm, crunchy flesh. For late cycle in Murcia, they have Envero F1*.
They are consolidating their materials in Charentais melons for export, where they are market leaders, and they are growing amongst the top brands. “Torum F1* is harvesting its fruits in its second year. It is giving spectacular results in the field and the pack of resistances has improved to make the companies more sustainable,” according to Enrique Ballester, Account Manager for Melons.
In 2020 they launched Eclair F1*, extra-early, which stands out for being very fast-growing, harvesting the first fruits when the price of Charentais melons is still high, with a guarantee of calibre and strength that allow many kilos to be harvested on these dates.
In Cantaloupe melons, they are developing the new Pearl line, with a long shelf-life and a defined cutting point that guarantees the internal sugar and has a change in colour, becoming creamier and more attractive, and very good flavour.
They are also innovating in classic Cantaloupe melons with magenta flesh, and they are launching Magverik F1*, with resistances and a strong plant.
* APC granted and the application process for inclusion in the EC Common Catalogue of Vegetable Varieties.