Insight into consumer behaviour at new Rijk Zwaan Retail Center

Publication date: 4/5/2017
Author: Sander Bruins Slot

Last Monday, seed breeder Rijk Zwaan opened its first Retail Center. “Germany is one of the largest sales markets in Europe, and that’s why Berlin became the city to have the first Retail Center in the world,” according to Jan Doldersum from Rijk Zwaan.

Please click here to view the photo report.

Opening by Jan Doldersum, Jörg Werner and Jürgen Köhne

The aim of Retail Center Rijk Zwaan is to give customized advice to retailers regarding what should be on the shelves, which positioning, what amounts, types, etc. Consumer research is done in the Retail Center, and that is therefore what it’s been arranged for.

Three types of supermarkets: Top left a Dutch supermarket, bottom left an American one, and the German concept on the right.

The space has been decorated to resemble three types of supermarkets. The Dutch system with closed doors and much convenience, the German system with its focus on discount, and the American system with open cooling.

“All of the knowledge that we gain here, will be shared with our global staff and with customers in various countries inside and outside of Europe,” says Jörg Werner, Business Development Manager from Rijk Zwaan.


In order to get to the right advice, various studies are done. Eye-tracking is one of those. The consumer is given special glasses to wear, with a camera in the middle, and the glasses indicate where the eyes are looking, when the eyes are fixated, and how long they look at something.


This technology is used with test-shopping. For this, the consumer is given a cart and, for example, ten euros, to buy all the vegetables necessary for a salad. Or they might be placed in front of a large shelf and are asked to pick out a certain product type. By means of the camera they can see how the consumer looks and how they make decisions.

With this information, it can be decided what consumers often look at, and how they see the shelf, and based on that, advice can be given about how the shelf should be arranged.

Andrea Müller talks about the research.

Retail advice

“The retailer wants to maintain his market share, and we therefore need to know which products should be on the shelves, and where they should be arranged. Nowadays, there are so many types of tomatoes, consumers can easily lose the overview. That’s why we try to gain more insight into purchasing behaviour of the consumer by means of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions,” says Andreas Müller, Chain Manager from Rijk Zwaan Germany and Austria. “We hope to increase sales with the retailers who will use this Retail Center, and to contribute to an increase in vegetable consumption,” Jörg Werner concludes.

Roel Janssen from Philips

Philips and In-Farm

Rijk Zwaan also works with companies who can bring their products to an optimum level by means of cultivation techniques. “For example, there are retailers who would like to have Rijk Zwaan’s products on their shelves, but who have to meet strict requirements as regards to nitrate content,” Roel Janssen from Philips explains. “With our LED lighting, we can create the right light recipe, so that these requirements are met.”

Besides, Philips also has a cosmetic function. “When a type of lettuce doesn’t receive enough UV, and therefore doesn’t turn the right kind of red, we can ensure with our lights that they receive enough UV after all.”

Rijk Zwaan also cooperates with Infarm. They have a vertical cultivation technology that they lease to restaurants, supermarkets and others. The buyer doesn’t have to worry about the cultivation. “We visit twice a week to take care of the harvest and the crop,” says Martin Weber from Infarm.

Not just the appearance is a reason for buyers to take their chance with Infarm. “Some companies discovered that we can supply the lettuce cheaper than other suppliers.”

A number of Rijk Zwaan’s partners were given a sneak preview of the Retail Center during the Fruit Logistica earlier this year. Their feedback was very positive, and was used to optimise the facilities even more.

Retailers and other partners of Rijk Zwaan can now make appointments to visit the Retail Center via or by contacting their local Rijk Zwaan contact.

Publication date: 4/5/2017
Author: Sander Bruins Slot