Global Tomato Congress takes place on 14-15 May in the Hague, bringing tomato experts together to explore what influences consumer purchases and how best to communicate on taste and health

Consumer perceptions about taste and health remain underexplored and undervalued in the world of fresh produce, in part because of the difficulty of measuring and communicating such aspects about a product, but also because of doubts over whether consumers really know what they want.

Global Tomato Congress 2023

When it comes to tomatoes, however – through growing their own or eating them on holiday – consumers tend to know what they like when it comes to flavour and texture. And worryingly, many have a perception that the taste of the tomatoes they buy in-store has diminished over the years, the result of prioritising characteristics like transportability, shelf-life and appearance over flavour.

Given such concerns, doubts regarding the nutritiousness of tomatoes cultivated on a large scale are perhaps not unexpected. Whether such perceptions are accurate or not, a concerted effort to win over consumers’ taste buds is overdue.

At the Global Tomato Congress on 14-15 May in The Hague, tomato specialists, including retailers, producers and marketers, will provide research and insights into what influences consumer purchases in-store concerning aspects like colour, variety, brand and messaging, and the importance shoppers attach to taste and health.

We will hear from breeding companies on the importance of maintaining flavour as they develop varieties that have greater resistance against ToBRFV and require fewer pesticides. We ask how technology, including big data and AI, can help to provide nutritional certainty on health and optimise taste profiling to better communicate to shoppers.

We also look at what’s behind the return of heirloom tomatoes and the development of new flavour-focused varieties around the world, and explore what we can learn from other categories when it comes to marketing taste and health to win over consumers.