The New Broc-Stars

The New Broc-Stars

July 13, 2022

Did you know that plant breeding can help mitigate food waste, improve sustainability, and enhance food flavor?

Over 20 years ago, plant breeders collaborated with growers to develop a taller version of broccoli that could be harvested mechanically. Labor is an issue in the agricultural sector, and Bayer was looking to help growers solve that problem. Bayer’s High Rise™ Broccoli varieties’ height also makes them easier to harvest by hand.

Little did we know that these broccoli varietals also had enhanced flavor.

It turns out that these varieties have less fibrous stems that taste sweeter, like a sweet pea. Even the florets are sweeter, creating a dual benefit of harvesting efficiency and taste. While some people are big broccoli fans, others who are more sensitive to bitterness may not like it. A sweeter version may win over those who haven’t enjoyed broccoli in the past, especially children. To test this theory and in working with the United Fresh Foundation, Bayer partnered with growers and local schools in Southern California to see what elementary school children thought of High Rise™ Broccoli. Growers donated the broccoli, and a teacher became the cook. The stems were cut into coins or “stars,” sautéed, and served in a mini kitchen outside on the blacktop during lunch time. The children could choose to try the broccoli, and those that did cleaned their plates and came back for more. It’s hard to impress elementary school kids!

This idea can easily be used as a live or recorded video and linked to the broccoli on e-commerce sites or posted in social media. Or included as part of a kids’ cook-along.

Learn more about “broc stars” and other new vegetable advancements worthy showcasing to your shoppers during RDBA’s The Morning Fix, where Phil Lempert interviews Jenny Maloney, Global-Americas Strategic Accounts Manager at Bayer.