Now's the time for a special focus on Flandria cabbages

The advent of autumn also marks the start of the new cabbage season! The trade can look forward to the arrival of firm closed cabbages which keep well. Why not display a nice spread of cabbages to convince buyers of the premium quality offered by Flandria and run some promotional deals.

Flexible in market demand
Supplies to the LAVA auctions got gradually underway last month. In the months ahead, we can expect ample supplies of red cabbage, white cabbage, Savoy and Chinese leaves.
Among the LAVA auctions, REO and BelOrta are the leaders when it comes to marketing closed cabbages. The need to remain innovative is a constant challenge. Together with their growers' cooperatives, they respond flexibly to the wishes of both retail and consumers.
“The demographic trend towards a larger number of small families and single people has really boosted demand for smaller cabbages in recent years”, confirms Jurgen De Braekeleer, sales manager for cabbages at REO Auction. “Flandria cabbage growers are outstanding not just in terms of quality, but also in terms of flexibility. The volume of small cabbages for the fresh market is increasing year on year. As well as meeting demand from the market, this also leads to higher production per hectare, sustainable cultivation and sustainable product storage.”

Flandria cabbages deliver premium quality
The Flemish cabbage producers aim for a product of absolutely top quality that meets the demands of the Flandria specifications, guaranteeing top quality and freshness. To qualify for the Flandria label, cabbages must look perfect and meet the following criteria:
• a handsome colour and fresh leaves
• uniform shape and size
• firm, closed structure
• bracts removed
• no frost damage or bruising
• good keeping properties

Homogenous grading
To qualify for Flandria, the grower must abide by strict grading rules.
Products are graded by size:
• Red and white cabbage: 4-5-6-7-8 units/crate
• Savoy cabbage: 4-5-6 units/crate
• Flandria+: 7.5 kg/crate
• Sweetheart cabbage: 6-8-10-12 units/crate
The same Flandria standards apply in the case of small sizes: only grades of 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 units are permitted. “Having a uniform product per crate is essential for Flandria. Our growers understand that quality is the only way for them to continue to distinguish themselves,” says De Braekeleer.

The clock and daily intermediation
The standard grade on the clock is 6 uniform cabbages in an EPS-H, with Flandria crate card. This enables perfect traceability back to the origins.
The commercial departments offer alternative packs and weights, such as net bags ('bigbags') of 6 cabbages (10 kg), wooden boxes, etc. Other quantities can be supplied by agreement with the trade. Small sizes weigh from 1 to 1.5 kg and are supplied in ET, which saves space on the shelf, offering the shopkeeper a further plus point.
As well as the clock, the daily intermediation option is also available. Deliveries are made to both the industry and the wholesalers. All grades are possible: e.g. 8-10 units (25 kg), 5-6 units (15 kg) and 6-8 units (20 kg).
The LAVA auctions are happy to offer the trade more packaging service by agreement.

A cool display and proper storage
It is a challenge to keep finding original ways to display the range of Flandria cabbages in the greengrocery department. This is how you create a cool image for these super-healthy vegetables. Mix a handsome, fresh array of colours with other Flandria winter vegetables such as turnips, parsnips and so on, to conjure up thoughts of hearty winter stews using these vegetables.
Flandria vegetables store best at 0 to 1 °C, RH of 90-95% and as well-ventilated as possible. Make sure to keep them well away from products which give off ethylene, such as tomatoes, apples, bananas or citrus fruits, and advise your customers to keep them cool at home (-10 °C).

In the top 10 healthy vegetables
Cabbages invariably feature in any list of the top 10 healthy vegetables. They contain high levels of fibre, minerals and vitamins A, B and C. These healthy properties are good reasons to put cabbage on the winter menu. With all the current hype about healthy cooking, there are so many reasons to start rustling up some dishes with this cool vegetable. Give your customers some recipe ideas: first blanch and then stew the cabbage. For a healthy treat, lay on some salads in store featuring raw cabbage. Capitalise on this in store.

Win over your customers
“This vegetable is throwing off its old-fashioned image. Its popularity is also being given a boost by cookery programmes featuring seasonal home-grown cabbage”, reports REO Auction. Tap into this trend and win over your customers thanks to the quality, the wide choice and recipes using Flandria cabbages.
With the weather getting colder, it is certainly a good time for some promotional deals. The peak level of supply for closed cabbages is from mid-November to the end of February.



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