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The saying by Maradona that could boost agriculture

The marketing expert and CEO of TOTEM Branding, Andy Stalman, explained ‘Why brand matters for the fruit and vegetable sector’ at of Rijk Zwaan’s Premiére
rijk zwaan Foto de Grupo con Andy

Has your company “let its tortoise get away”? This Argentinean saying that was made popular by the footballer Diego Maradona refers to someone slow, who lets the opportunities slip by them in an a most implausible way. The expert in marketing and CEO of TOTEM Branding, Andy Stalman (known as Mr. BrAndyng), likes to use it to shed light on the importance of communication and marketing and he repeated it in his talk ‘Why brand matters for the fruit and vegetable sector,’ at Rijk Zwaan’s Premiére, prior to Fruit Attraction.

Learning to communicate and to excite consumers is an imperious need for the agricultural sector, on which many myths and fake news fall, of which Ricardo Ortiz, Business Manager at Rijk Zwaan, underlined three: “they say that fruit and vegetables have no taste; they are expensive; and the sector is suspected of everything: polluting the water, using chemicals, transgenics… In the sector, we communicate very badly, and we are the weakest food lobby.”

You are either on Instagram or you don’t exist

During his talk, Andy Stalman recalled a sentence that Enrique de los Rios, Manager of Unica, used: “Approximately 98% of fruit and vegetables are not branded. We have the capacity, but not the will.”

In order for a fruit and vegetable company to be able to position itself on the map and reach consumers, it needs a brand that differentiates it. And as an example he mentioned Sweet Palermo, Rijk Zwaan’s most emblematic product. “Today people want to consume experiences. And experiences are what make you feel.” For this reason, he recommends making people part of our stories and using an experience focus point, moving away from the commodity.

“If I go from commodity to brand, I am on Instagram. If I am on Instagram, people recommend me. If they recommend me, people purchase me. Therefore, I am going to increase sales,” Stalman summarised. This social media network is precisely one of the favourites of the younger generations (with TikTok’s permission).

If the sector wants, as Enrique Colilles, CEO of Trops, states, “this to be the year when fruit and vegetable branding takes off,” it must opt for branding and be aware that it is essential to invest now and not wait until “the tortoise gets away.” Because “ideal conditions do not exist,” Stalman explained.

“We are beginning to glimpse the sector’s metamorphosis. And action is the only transformer.” To do this, he encourages the “Chicken model’ to be followed: CO-creation, Collaboration, Construction, Cooperation. “All of this leads to CO-SUCCESS.”

Brand or goods?

After the talk, Ricardo Ortiz encouraged companies to apply these lessons at Fruit Attraction. “We develop seeds, we inspire… but the plant breeders should not be the only ones who make communication more dynamic. If we are not a brand, we are just goods.” Following this, a show-cooking display started with Jose Álvarez, chef from the Restaurante La Costa, winner of one Michelin star, and Alberto Cuadrado, Chain Manager of Rijk Zwaan, where the information about the latest developments and concepts that they will take to the trade fair was given.


The first new development is Maui, a sweet melon with citric notes with which Rijk Zwaan hopes to generate new consumption opportunities apart from a dessert, due to its extensive versatility. Chef José Álvarez commented that it pairs up perfectly with sardines in vinegar, foie…

In tomatoes, they have several premium flavour varieties. Two in a small format: Deliquia RZ and Reddery RZ, ideal for eating fresh and in preparations such as a Bloody Mary. In a larger size, there is the pink tomato TY-12 RZ, with which Rijk Zwaan wants to recover salad tomato consumption. Available 12 months of the year, it can be found with the Tip-Top brands, marketed by Ametller, and in Galicia as Riquiño.

Alberto Cuadrado affirmed that “our goal is to increase cucumber consumption.” And to do this they have associated the MyCubies brand with the Minions. “After an agreement with Universal, supermarket sales have increased by 30-40%.” For children, these cartoon characters are a claim and once they have tried the cucumbers, they eat them again due to their sweet flavour, crunchy texture and thin skin.

With the mini, micro-seed watermelon, Corellana RZ, the first Candy Ball concept, Rijk Zwaan is offering a highly productive, competitive watermelon, with great flavour and very reasonably priced for end consumers.”

With a longer history are Snack lettuces, string-free beans GreenTense and the range of extra sweet conical peppers Sweet Palermo, with which “we are changing the market.”

Gastro-route and Michelin prize

Elisabet Expósito, Marketing Specialist, explained the actions that the company is going to carry out at Fruit Attraction, such as a gastronomic route around different stands belonging to partner companies and a competition with the prize of an experience in a 3-star Michelin restaurant.

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