Sunions™: America’s First Tearless Onion is Here

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Mon. October 16th, 2017

PARMA, ID – There are plenty of things in this world that make us cry. But onions no longer have to be one of them. Sunions, America’s first tearless and sweet onion will make its debut at PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans Oct. 19-21.

“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,” said Sunions breeder Rick Watson.

A game-changing product of more than three decades of research, development and natural hybridization by Bayer Crop Science, Sunions are a long-day sweet onion variety grown in the USA. But unlike other long-day onions, Sunions actually become sweeter and more tearless in storage. Most other sweet onions available during the Sunions window of availability are currently imported from South America.

It all comes down to the levels of volatile compounds responsible for pungency and tearing in onions. The levels of those compounds in other onions remain stable or increase during storage. In Sunions, these compounds do the exact opposite and decrease in prevalence to create a milder, sweeter and tearless onion over time. This natural process also promotes a strong level of consistency from bulb to bulb.

The team behind Sunions conducted extensive research about the significance of tearlessness and found compelling data to support the demand for an onion that won’t bring tears to the eyes when slicing and dicing in the kitchen.

“Looking for ways to avoid tears when cutting onions is a big deal for consumers,” said Don Goodwin, president of Golden Sun Marketing. “A quick Google search will yield over 500,000 results, and YouTube videos on the topic have received more than 5 million views.”

In addition to consumers looking to the internet for advice, they also look to the industry experts. The National Onion Association reports that the most commonly asked question they receive is “how do I cut onions without crying?”

Putting Sunions’ tearlessness to the test, the onions faced consumers armed with knives and cutting boards at both the Bayer Sensory Lab and a third party facility in the Ohio State University’s Sensory Evaluation Center. Each time, participants were pleasantly surprised by the lack of tears.

“No tears,” responded one participant. “Usually I have to wear sunglasses to cut onions.” Another had trouble believing what their nose was telling them: “How could it not make me cry and still smell like a real onion?”

As for the eating experience, Sunions are consistently crunchy and sweet with a mild flavor. Sampling events conducted prior to launch saw consumers coming back for more. Comments during a demo conducted at a West Coast retailer included “Best onions I’ve ever had” and “Great, it doesn’t make me cry.”

A sensory panel with full authority and power to determine ship dates follows a tightly-controlled protocol that includes both flavor and tearlessness. Sunions will ship only once they are certified ready by this panel of tasting experts and with the support of a food lab test certifying the 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,” said Lyndon Johnson, crop manager for onions at Bayer Vegetable Seeds. “We want to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace with a set of stringent quality requirements to maintain our brand promise.”

Sunions will be featured at this year’s PMA’s Fresh Summit in New Orleans, Oct 19-21 in both the New Product Showcase and at two exhibitor booths. Learn more about Sunions at Bayer Vegetable Seeds (Booth #4151) and Onions 52 (Booth #5829).

Sunions are beginning their first season of retail availability and are backed by a comprehensive marketing plan including point-of-sale materials, produce manager education, social media content and a consumer advertising and public relations campaign. For more information visit www.iheartsunions or for product availability, please contact Sunions distributors including Generation Farms, Onions 52 and Peri & Sons Farms.