Many of the world’s leading tomato suppliers have invested heavily in better-tasting varieties, but the widespread perception that tomatoes ‘don’t really taste of anything’ seems to persist. Why is that?

For Synnøve Johansson, business development manager at Belgian cooperative Hoogstraten, the fact that consumers appreciate tastier products hasn’t yet altered the received wisdom among most supermarket buyers in the mainstream market.

Simply put, more investment is needed to create better-tasting supply, and more support is needed from retailers in particular to convey that quality. “A lot has changed in the category, but there are still tasteless tomatoes in the category,” she tells Fruitnet’s Chris White in the latest episode of Fruitbox.

The value of tomatoes that taste better is clear, Johansson adds: “Taste equals repeat purchase. Yes, as consumers we want local produce, we would like it to be organic, sustainably produced, sustainably packaged, and cheap.

“However, when we know it tastes good, all of these other requirements become less relevant. Taste is the best way for us as an industry to support that growth in consumption that we all want to see.”

To encourage more retailers to buy into that theory, Hoogstraten has invited a number of buyers to visit its production sites, where they can sample a range of great-tasting varieties – including some that are not yet available on the market.

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