The tomato sector in France, grouped in the Association of Producer Organizations called "Tomatoes and cucumbers of France", has prepared a White Book that defines three lines of work focused on taste, the response to consumer demands and the work on sustainable development.
The White Book, entitled "The tomato sector; a sector committed to progress dynamics", says that flavor is the first line of work for the sector. According to various studies, 96% of French consumers rely mainly on flavor to choose their foods, and that is the reason why tomato producers invest each year in different varieties with different organoleptic qualities. Work in this area will continue, according to the White Book. However, while flavor and the perception of that flavor depend on the variety, reputation is also important, since "for historical, logistical and cultural reasons, greenhouse tomatoes have had a bad reputation when it comes to taste." Taste is also at the end of "a chain" that goes from the seed all the way to the consumer. The White Book considers that flavor is also affected by the transport and storage conditions, and points to bad cold storage as one of the main reasons for the loss of tomato flavor.
The second line of work for tomato producers in France is to satisfy the multiple demands from consumers, and in this line, the White Book proposes three things: "to promote the health properties of this vegetable, to stand strongly behind the French domestic production, and to take advantage of the opportunities of new consumer models."
Lastly, the third line of work is focused on sustainable development. It proposes three things: going further and further in technological innovation for environmental protection, promoting the sector's good practices in environmental matters, and opening the greenhouses to the public to explain the production process to consumers, who are eager for transparency."
In France, the fresh tomato producing and exporting sector is mainly organized in the Association of Producers' Organizations (AOP) "Tomatoes and Cucumbers of France", formed by organizations of producers of these two vegetables and recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture on October 24, 2008. It brings together 27 associates, with around 1,000 producers, generating 6,000 permanent jobs and close to 15,000 indirect jobs. It accounts for about 1,000 hectares of crops, 90% of which in greenhouses, which yield 330,000 tons each year. This represents 65% of the French tomato production, according to the information included in the White Book.