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Stories - 14-01-2024

ICA Sweden enjoys success with Crunchy Lettuce

In the space of less than three years, the ICA Crunchita double-pack has secured a permanent position on the shelves of the Swedish retailer’s stores. “It has a good taste, is crunchy and has a good shelf life. It’s a good fit because of the large percentage of single households,” explains Cecilia Ekfors Forsberg, Category Manager at ICA. This Crunchy Lettuce helps the retailer to move ‘freshly forward’, in line with Rijk Zwaan’s theme at Fruit Logistica.

Switching to smaller and tastier lettuces

ICA is Sweden’s largest retailer, with 1,298 stores all over the geographically elongated country. Cecilia: “That brings logistics and shelf life-related challenges when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables. Besides the good taste and crunchy texture, the good shelf life is one of the reasons we decided to start selling Rijk Zwaan’s Crunchy Lettuce three years ago. Moreover, consumers are gradually switching from iceberg to smaller and tastier lettuces. Sweden has a large percentage of single households, which makes this double-pack product a good fit: one head for one meal, and there’s one head left for another meal.”

A permanent position on the shelves

Sold under private label, ICA Crunchita has been an overall success ever since the launch, Cecilia continues. “It was well received by both customers and ICA staff right from the start, proven by both the positive sales figures and the positive feedback. It soon secured a permanent position on the shelves, especially in medium-sized and large ICA stores. Part of the successful introduction is due to the product being available year round. The lettuce is grown in Sweden in the summer season and in Spain during the winter season.”

Part of the Pink Ribbon campaign

The fact that this lettuce – along with 32 other products in this category – was included in the Pink Ribbon campaign is a further confirmation of its status. ICA has been participating in this annual campaign by the Cancer Foundation for 20 years. Over the past two decades, ICA and its customers have raised more than SEK570 million to help Sweden’s foremost cancer researchers fight various forms of the disease. “We turn our ICA stores pink and fill them with pink goods. The popularity of a product like ICA Crunchita makes a good contribution to boosting donations,” states Cecilia.

Moving ‘freshly forward’ in the future

Both Category ManagerCecilia andICA’s International Global Sourcing Coordinating Manager Lars-Erik Löfstrand agree that the partnership with Rijk Zwaan helps the retailer to move ‘freshly forward’. “This lettuce type extends our offering in the desired direction: it is tastier and has more sweetness… it’s a fun new contribution in the lettuce range. Building on its success, we have also recently launched the concept in our RIMI stores in the Baltic States. For ICA to develop new vegetable products in the future, to steer in the right direction, we see the benefit of working closely together with vegetable breeders like Rijk Zwaan. It can support our very concrete goal of stimulating consumption of fruit and vegetables to reach 500g per person per day. We want to help consumers make healthier choices, including with our social media posts, nudging campaigns and cooking inspiration.”

‘Freshly Forward, from Foundation to Future’ – this is the theme Rijk Zwaan has chosen for tackling today’s challenges, together with its partners. We will be presenting robust and resilient solutions as well as inspiring innovations at Fruit Logistica 2024 (Hall 1.2, D-13). You are also welcome to visit the Rijk Zwaan Retail Center in Berlin – the company’s very own experience and research facility.

Additionally, don’t miss our Hydroponics Demo in the Netherlands (29 Jan - 9 Feb) and the Winter Open Field Demo in Murcia, Spain (12 - 16 Feb).

Join Rijk Zwaan in moving Freshly Forward!

For questions please contact
Bauke van Lenteren
For questions please contact
Bauke van Lenteren
Marketing Specialist Convenience and Leaf