Called America’s first tearless sweet onion, Sunions will make its debut at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit in New Orleans.
The variety, developed by Bayer Crop Science, will soon be available at retailers, backed by a marketing plan including point-of-sale materials, produce manager education, social media content and a consumer advertising and public relations campaign.
Sunions are marketed and distributed exclusively by Generation Farms, Lake Park, Ga.; Onions 52, Syracuse, Utah; and Peri & Sons Farms, Yerington, Nev., according to a news release.
“This onion is the product of more than 30 years of research and development to produce an onion that actually decreased in pungency during storage,” Sunions breeder Rick Watson said in the release.
The variety will be on display at Bayer Vegetable Seeds and Onions 52 booths at Fresh Summit, Nos. 4151 and 5829, respectively.
A sensory panel of “tasting experts” with the authority to determine ship dates follows a protocol that includes flavor and tearlessness, according to the release. Sunions will ship only after they are deemed ready by the panel, according to the release, along with lab tests showing proper levels of volatile compounds.
“We’ve established a strict protocol with our sensory team not to allow the release of Sunions until they reach peak flavor and tearlessness,” Lyndon Johnson, crop manager for onions at Bayer Vegetable Seeds, said in the release. “We want to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace with a set of stringent quality requirements to maintain our brand promise.”
If the onions meet protocol, Adam Brady senior marketing manager for Golden Sun Marketing, said Sunions could be available at the start of November. Depending on supply and demand, Sunions may be marketed into March, just before the start of the Vidalia season, he said.
No more tears
The release said the Bayer researchers conducted research on the significance of tearlessness and found consumer support.
“Looking for ways to avoid tears when cutting onions is a big deal for consumers,” Don Goodwin, president of Golden Sun Marketing, said in the release. “A quick Google search will yield over 500,000 results, and YouTube videos on the topic have received more than 5 million views.”
The variety faced consumer panels at both the Bayer Sensory Lab and a third-party facility in the Ohio State University’s Sensory Evaluation Center, according to the release.