More often than not, the modern-day consumer is as likely to grab a convenient, tasty and healthy snack while on the move than they are to sit down and eat a meal with their family.
That is why Johan Vis, marketing specialist at Rijk Zwaan, ticks off flavour and convenience as being right at the top of the agenda when it comes to the development of the vegetable seed specialist’s range of tomatoes.
“We look to develop flavoursome tomatoes that are available whenever and wherever you need them” he tells Eurofruit. “We cater for consumers who are looking to snack at school or in the office, or those looking to the premium shelf in the supermarket when preparing a dinner for friends, or even people wanting visibly tasteful varieties in a sandwich, restaurant or salad bar. More or less, size, firmness, affordability and taste are derivatives of these.”
With this growth in demand for snack-sized tomatoes in particular, Vis highlights the varieties from Rijk Zwan that best display the traits customers are demanding. “Yes, we are seeing an increased demand for smaller tomato sizes, with sales volume rising around 40 per cent in mature markets for these and value up 50 per cent,” he continues. “Particularly exciting varieties that we have developed include Operino, which is snack-sized, pear-shaped, orange and tasty, and Senserno which is beautifully red inside and outside – it is visibly tastier.”
However, this is not to say that established varieties are not still important to the group, with cocktail tomatoes and standard 60g-160g tomatoes still performing well. And Rijk Zwaan continues to push forward in the category with the development of new facilities to help stay ahead of the curve.
“We have developed trial and breeding stations around the globe, so we bring through local tomato varieties that best suit global food trends,” Vis adds.