NatureSweet to launch new 'perfect slicing tomato' variety in 2017
A leading U.S.-based greenhouse tomato grower has developed a variety it describes as 'perfect for slicing', and is now gearing up for the product launch starting next month.
At the New York Produce Show and Conference held last week in the Big Apple, NatureSweet Tomatoes vice president of sales Kathryn Ault said the sandwich-oriented variety would be sold under the Jubilees brand.
"This is a medium-sized tomato, and what we have done over very many years is develop the optimal tomato that is a perfect size, perfect for slicing and that also is flavorful. Those three things just aren’t available in the larger tomatoes," she told www.freshfruitportal.com.
"The reason why size is important with larger tomatoes is that consumers will slice them, then half of it then goes into the refrigerator and then two days later it’s thrown away. We reckon about 40% of large tomatoes of wasted, simply because of that behavior.
"This tomato we’ve created has the perfect number of slices for one sandwich, so there's no waste. It’s a pretty firm tomato, so it's easy to slice, and also the internal elements of the tomato the flesh and the juice are well structured, so you don’t have a lot of juice or gel."
She added the variety's balance of sweetness and acidity complemented sandwiches.
NatureSweet Tomatoes works with hundreds of seed companies around the world to develop its varieties, with the development team visiting facilities two or three times a year.
"We collect material and we have the most extensive new product development trials of any tomato company in the world. So we’re always looking for the best material to make our current ones better and get new ones," Ault said.
"We have trial rows, then we will evaluate in taste panels, whatever wins will go to consumer research, then the next stage, and over time we optimize growing conditions. It’s a very long process."
The company's tomatoes are sold in bright yellow, sturdy packaging which the representative said was partly to be instantly recognizable on the shelf and partly to present and protect the product.
"So there is an optimal presentation with lots of visibility of the fruit, but there's also protection not just for the product but also to minimize the amount of shrink that comes with too much ventilation," she said.
The product will be launched in the U.S. market in January 2017 to NatureSweet's retail and club partners, with a progressive roll out into its other markets of Canada and Mexico through 2018.
The majority of the company's production is based in Mexico, where it owns greenhouses covering 1,300 acres across the states of Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit. It also has 300 acres in the U.S. state of Arizona.