Long-stemmed variety Bellaverde has been developed by seed specialist Seminis and grower Marshalls following research showing one in four Brits did not like the bitter aftertaste of some broccoli. The crop, which is described as having a “delicate, clean fresh, sweet taste” unlike other broccolis, will be launched in 200g punnets into Sainsbury's from next week and will then be rolled out to other supermarkets.
Marshalls has begun harvesting the crop at its farm in Lincolnshire and will continue until November, when production will switch to Spain to ensure year-round supply.
“Bellaverde is a true pure variety, meaning it has not been crossed with another vegetable,” said Marshalls’ marketing manager Catriona Mowbray. “Consumers preferred the taste of Bellaverde to other long-stemmed broccolis in research so we believe it has great potential.”
The launch will be backed by a PR campaign fronted by celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo. The campaign features recipe development, media briefings and sample drops, as well as the launch of a consumer website, in-store tastings, recipe cards and leaflets and shelf barkers. Named after the Italian for ‘beautiful green’ because of its vibrant green colour, Bellaverde is described as similar in appearance to traditional wild variety Cime di Rapa.
Young shoots are hand-picked after only 10 days and, like Tenderstem broccoli, can be eaten whole when cooked. As a “traditional” broccoli it had strong health credentials as the “king of superfoods”, added Mowbray.
New launches into the £180m broccoli market have proved successful in the past, with Tenderstem quickly gaining in popularity since its launch in 1997. In 2008 overall volume sales of broccoli rose 0.7% [Nielsen], despite a 4.9% value fall due to an oversupply in the market.