Date importer Tomoor has supplied date paste for the food processing industry since September. “Date paste is a booming product on the rise, which we offer in various amounts, structures and flavours. Date paste can be used as a sugar replacement,” says Mustapha Chihabi of Tomoor. “Our premium date paste is qualitatively better than Tunisian date paste, because the date stone is also ground into the Tunisian paste. Regarding flavour, the Tunisian version isn’t as good as the Saudi date paste either.”
Besides the expansion of the assortment, the importer is also working on achieving a new organic certificate. “This will be a globally recognised certificate. We’re seeing demand for organic increasing rapidly, and about 30 per cent of our sales is currently organic. However, we have noticed that in addition to the growing organic demand, emphasis is on a beautiful and qualitative product more and more. People are worried this isn’t always the case with organic products. Yet I expect the conventional production to become more like the organic production in future, despite growers not obtaining the organic certificate,” Mustapha says.
Tomoor only supplies dates from Saudi Arabia. “Saudi dates are no worse than the well-known Medjoul dates. Medjoul is more expensive, but it’s not better than the Saudi date regarding quality. The Saudi date grows in healthier soils than the Medjoul. The drying process of the dates is also different, Medjoul is dried in ovens, but Saudi dates are dried in the sun,” Mustapha explains. “Our distribution centre in Antwerp, Belgium, is mostly focused on the European market. We recently opened an office in Morocco, because this country is the largest importer of dates globally. We’re seeing demand for dates increasing globally. Demand from Turkey and Asia is increasing rapidly in particular.”
“We’ll soon launch a new, innovative product as well, liquid date sugar. This can be used as a healthy sweetener. We went into laboratories to transform the fructose from dates into a liquid. With the liquid date sugar, we’re responding to the health trend and the trend to reduce the use of sugar,” Mustapha concludes.