Although chicory has been available all year round in recent decades, we see the vegetables on the menu especially in winter. In several countries in Europe we see that peak sales are in the winter. This makes the chicory a real winter vegetable! How chicory is managed differs per country and / or region.
Difference in times of consuming
Chicory has been on the menu for years, mainly in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The vegetable is also regularly eaten in Italy. It is not by definition everyone's friend (due to its specific taste), although the vegetable is very healthy! Fortunately, we still see chicory appear on the menu regularly.
Where in the Netherlands and Belgium chicory is mostly eaten at dinner, in Germany we see that chicory consumption is divided between lunch and dinnertime. The most common food combinations are various. Where the Dutch often opt for traditionally cooked chicory with potatoes or the well-known oven baked chicory with ham and cheese, we also see that a (raw) chicory salad is very popular in other countries. However, you can do a lot more with it: the leaves can be filled and served as an appetizer, the small crops can be served as a filling in puff pastry from the oven, or caramelized and halved on the grill… or make a chicory-potato soup!
Consumption timetable per country
Chicory is a biennial crop. In the first year, the root is grown outside in the open ground. After this, it is harvested, sorted and then the roots (also called pens) are stored just below freezing point. As soon as it is used again, the root is thawed and set up in the dark in containers with water that flows continuously. Because the root stores and carries many nutrients from the land, the crop can grow well on water alone. It's a big advantage, as it is much cleaner and easier to work with.
In about 25 days, a chicory head grows on top of the root.
Chicory cultivation takes place completely in the dark. This is to preserve the white color (in the light they turn green), as well as the taste. Chicory would become very bitter if it grows in direct light.
Into the future
Chicory is a versatile and healthy product, in which we see growth potential. Due to the specific taste and the (not yet) versatile use in the kitchen despite the many possibilities, it is good to focus on the potential and benefits that this vegetable offer.
Where 6 out of 10 Dutch people already buy chicory now and then, and the almost 8 out of 10 people in France, the German market offers even more potential; only 2 out of 10 people buy chicory here. A good place to focus on!
The ideal vegetable within a healthy diet
Chicory is very suitable as part of a healthy and varied diet. The number of calories in chicory is very low, as in most other vegetables. At the same time, it contains many vitamins and minerals. Our partner Lof attaches great importance to sustainability and this can be an additional reason for many consumers to choose chicory. From using rainwater for cultivation to reusing this water for reed beds, everything is done to keep the foodprint as low as possible.
Chicory in the spotlight
Because chicory is a real winter vegetable and it is already getting a lot colder outside, we want to put this special vegetable in the spotlight this week. Every other week we focus on one of our products. Visitors are introduced to the unique taste, our colleagues are getting to know the product specifications even better and online we are paying extra attention to the characteristics of this versatile vegetable. Do you want to know more about chicory? Follow us through our Social Media channels!