LED technology extends British tomato deal
Growing tomatoes in the cold months of a typical British autumn and winter is no mean feat, but producers for retailer Sainsbury’s have pulled it off with the help of LED lights.
The result is that British home-grown tomatoes are on the shelves of the leading supermarket at this time of year and will continue to be stocked in the run up to Christmas.
To cultivate tomatoes in the cold months, Sainsbury's' growers used heated glasshouses and artificial lights to replicate the summer sunshine.
To achieve this they have used a mixture of sodium and LED lights spread amongst the crops to help the tomatoes grow and ripen.
Sainsbury's product technologist Melissa Jones said shoppers wanted to buy high quality British products, and the general demand for home-grown produce was increasing.
"This range of tomatoes is another example of growing more of our favourite fruit and vegetables closer to home," she said in a release.
"By working with our growers we’ve been able to extend the British tomato season which takes a lot of skill and investment from our growers."
British Tomato Growers’ Association chairman Nigel Bartle added the demand for U.K. tomatoes drove the need to harvest for longer.
"Growers have been working really hard both with researchers and Sainsbury's to extend the season and this year thanks to LED technology will be able to produce more fresh British tomatoes than ever before," he said in the release.
"This is the first time a large scale commercial nursery has used this technology in the U.K.
"Growers continue to work together to find ways to deliver even more home-grown tomatoes in the future which is great for British farming."
Using the technology Sainsbury's say it has added a new and exclusive yellow cherry tomato, Sunglow, sold under its 'Taste the Difference' range which also includes a large vine tomato Vittoria and a mixed color pack of red and yellow cherry tomatoes.