Bayer Vegetable Seeds has opened a new Consumer Sensory Facility at Bergschenhoek in the Netherlands. The new facility forms part of Bayer’s Vegetable Quality Lab and includes state-of-the-art equipment to accurately measure traits such as firmness, juiciness and skin toughness, as well as measuring the colour, sugar-, carotenoid- and aroma-content of varieties of different varieties.
Bayer says that the vegetable quality laboratory enables it to collect objective data on taste, appearance, health aspects and nutritional value, with the new sensory facility adding the ability for employees to sample products in a fully controlled environment. The new facility includes a cold store similar to the space where supermarkets receive fresh products. Once unpacked and sorted, there are a number of tools available including blenders that turn fresh produce into puree for more complex analysis of sugars and carotenoids, and also high-performance liquid chromatography devices that separate molecules, instruments to simultaneously measures concentrations of pH, titratable acidity and Brix measurements.
“For a data-driven company like ours, the investment is a really big step forward,” says Bayer’s marketing manager for Benelux, Svetlana Tokunova, although the company has stressed that it will continue to work with outside partners such as Delphy and WUR.