Swiss supermarkets prefer the better protected pre-packed tomatoes

“Waste of unpackaged tomatoes too high”

During the last weeks, the import of Spanish vegetables has continued to increase. After the cold December weather, in important agricultural regions such as Almería and Murcia, the quantity of popular vegetables, such as sweet peppers, cucumbers, and of course tomatoes, has increased to a satisfactory level. However, the price of tomatoes is low compared to the previous year, about 3% lower for vine tomatoes and 7% lower for cherry vine tomatoes. 

Currently very popular in Switzerland: date tomatoes

Spanish tomatoes are about 10% to 20% cheaper than Dutch tomatoes, but this will change soon, states Roberto Iseppi, Managing Director of the Swiss trading company Iseppi Frutta. The trader, with years of experience in selling Spanish vegetables, has noticed that Swiss customers are focusing on date tomatoes and cherry vine tomatoes. “These snack tomatoes are available in a wide range of colors, such as yellow, red, and brown, and are very popular with our customers.”

The management of the Iseppi company, with Roberto Iseppi on the right

Pick ‘n’ Mix
Like neighboring countries, Switzerland experiments with the Pick ‘n’ Mix idea. Pick ‘n’ Mix gives customers the opportunity to fill a cup or bag with different tomatoes, but Iseppi doesn’t believe this idea will catch on in Swiss supermarkets. “We mainly sell plum tomatoes pre-packaged in cups and punnets. Loose tomatoes run a higher risk of damage by customers, and then the tomatoes can’t be sold. As a result, the waste is very high. The pre-packaged produce is much better protected.”

Although in Switzerland the Pick ‘n’ Mix concept is popular for snack tomatoes, it doesn’t generate large profits. Iseppi is of the opinion that sales are primarily generated by packaged produce. “Consumers choose the pre-packed product and continue their shopping, but with loose products, they have to take time to fill a bag or cup.”

The company headquarters in Dornach

Spanish import
The import season for Spanish produce is expected to run until May. However, in March produce grown in the Swiss greenhouses starts to reach the market and gradually the supply of Spanish products will decline. “In Switzerland we have about five large regions of greenhouses, mainly in urban areas such as Zurich, Berne and Geneva.”

The Iseppi Frutta company has been trading since 1930 and currently the third generation is running the company. The family business started with supplying small businesses, but over the years it has grown into a full-service provider with around 120 employees. In addition to tomatoes the product range includes top fruit, citrus fruit, cucumbers, sweet peppers and eggplants. Since 2011, the company not only has two branches in Switzerland, Dornach and Campascio, but also one branch in Villagrow, La Mojonera in the middle of the Spanish agricultural region of Almeria. As a result, the company is able to manage and control the entire process, from the fields to the supermarket. 

The trucks of the Iseppi company are always ready to go

For more information:
Managing Director: Roberto Iseppi
Weidenstrasse 25
CH 4143 Dornach
Phone: +41 61 706 93 19

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