07 May 2024

Livie™ blueberries will be the next snack and out-of-home a great opportunity


Hans Liekens, value chain & retail manager Sekoya, will be at Macfrut 2024 to discuss the strategies and goals of Sekoya®. In an exclusive interview for myfruit, Liekens commented on the results of the GfK survey on out-of-home consumption, explaining why blueberries can become an excellent snack.

"We are a b2b market platform with 15 members who have the right to plant and sell Sekoya® varieties," said Hans Liekens.

To help consumers identify the right quality blueberries at the point of sale, Sekoya® has developed the Livie™ Quality Assurance, a small but recognizable logo, synonymous with consistent quality driven by compactness, taste, and size. The concept behind Livie™ is simple: the consumer wants to recognize consistent quality, regardless of the brand they purchase.

"Sekoya® cannot be used as a brand for consumers. Only the variety names (for example Sekoya Pop® "FCM14-052" or Sekoya Crunch® "FC13-083") can be added to a label," states Liekens.

Out-of-Home Consumption

Today, blueberries are sold over 90% at retail, so there are huge opportunities in out-of-home (OOH).

"In the past," the manager explained, "berries were underrepresented in the OOH due to poor shelf life and high levels of waste. Considering that Sekoya® varieties have a shelf life of more than 45 days, this weakness turns into an advantage. Moreover, Sekoya® varieties meet all the criteria of a perfect snack in terms of bite size, crunchiness, and excellent taste." Imagine these products in a gym, at a train or service station, or even at Starbucks or McDonald's.

Alternative Distribution Channels

"We firmly believe in consumer needs in specific locations," Liekens added, "If they are engaging in physical activity or shopping and feel the need for a snack, Sekoya® blueberries can be their healthy snack. If an airline were to distribute three large, crunchy, and tasty blueberries, do you think the passengers would complain? And if a coffee chain offered a cup of fresh, large, and crunchy blueberries next to the blueberry muffin?"

Opportunities for Consumption Throughout the Day

How many consumption opportunities are we still underestimating? "A healthy breakfast is still very important, and we believe that breakfast deserves better blueberries," Liekens observed, "Personally, I am disappointed by a hotel breakfast without blueberries, or with soft and moldy berries. It's a missed opportunity for customer satisfaction."

Packaging for Children

And we must not forget about children, who love large, crunchy, and sweet blueberries. "Yet today, we do not see packaging suitable for children to carry the fruit wherever they go (school, sports clubs, etc.). Thus, we are thinking of a flow-pack type package like a bag of chips, so that children can get used to it. The new generation of blueberries is durable enough to be packed in small bags. This format is already seen with sliced apples, but the advantage of blueberries is that they do not need to be cut or treated to appear fresh,"

In short, blueberries can fit into the main categories of snacks 100%. "Sekoya® blueberries seem to be designed to be a snack. And the members of Sekoya® are increasingly focusing on snack packaging. Today," concluded Hans Liekens, "consumers clearly express their preferences. Growing an existing category or creating a new one means: Never disappoint a consumer! Because if you disappoint them, you lose them. And winning them back is very hard work."

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