28 Apr 2023 14:58

Trade sees a deficit in cocktail tomatoes in Russia after price rises

SOCHI. April 28 (Interfax) - Demand in Russia for cherry tomatoes, as well as cocktail tomatoes, is growing, but there is still a shortage of them in the market, Denis Vysotsky, a representative of the X5 Group's Perekrestok chain, said at the Greenhouse Business Russia 2023 forum in Sochi on Thursday.

"Now we're seeing a deficit in the tomato group as a whole of around 22%. In just market demand for cherry tomatoes, this is 250,000 tonnes per year. According to our calculations and the assessment of our colleagues from the seed selection company, partners, and suppliers, the deficit is about 67%," Vysotsky said.

Referring to seed company estimates, he said that the market demand for cocktail-sized tomatoes ranges from 8,000 to 12,000 tonnes, but it is only half-satisfied.

Recently consumer demand for tomatoes has been shifting towards new flavors, including sweet cherry tomatoes, which are becoming more and more available. "Buyers are ready to experiment with tastes. And more and more often we hear requests not only that the tomato be sweet, but also that it contains a certain combination of acids and sugars," he noted. "Price often fades into the background compared to taste and product quality, Vysotsky said.

Because of this, the expansion in production of cherry tomatoes and the cocktail group is a "huge point of growth" for the greenhouse industry, for seed companies, and for the trade. "Therefore, now we are rebuilding our matrix, looking at development prospects, studying requests, and conducting tastings," he said.

At the same time, the demand for the traditional tomato - "medium-fruited red-round, which was sold in the thousands of tonnes, is not only declining in our chain, it is dropping catastrophically," Vysotsky said.

Andrey Kazakov, executive director of the National Fruit and Vegetable Union, said at the forum that it is necessary to change the Russian vegetable market and introduce more exclusive varieties, as the consumer increasingly prefers unusual varieties, including cocktail tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. "The share of cherry tomatoes is growing every year, and selection is aimed at creating varieties like these," he said.