The tomato market, just like last year, has been particularly challenging in 2019. "Prices are low for the month of May and consumption remains below expectations. This week the weather is rather good in France, but the market is struggling to recover," explains Gérard Roué, product manager at Refaly, a referencing company for fresh products from the TerreAzur branch at Pomona. At the national level, the production of old varieties has increased significantly this year. "Indeed, the market is also complicated for these varieties."
A year ago, TerreAzur introduced Locabelle: a tasty tomato grown exclusively in France. One year after its launch on the French market, Gérard is satisfied with its development. "La Locabelle was very well received by our customers. The first harvest is scheduled for next week."
La Locabelle is cultivated in the open by 21 producers spread all over France. Its name betrays its local character. The tomato is grown close to the consumer, at a maximum distance of 150 kilometres. This minimizes transport time and allows tomatoes to be harvested at the right maturity. For 2019, TerreAzur expects a volume of 450 tonnes.
The variety was developed by INRA. "We have negotiated an exclusivity on the variety until the end of 2020. By creating a brand, our sales representatives have already become well acquainted with the product." Gérard adds that this is not the first time that the Pomona Group has created a concept of this kind. "So far, the concepts we created 12 or 15 years ago still exist, so we hope the Locabelle will have the same lifespan as our other concepts. The product is very appreciated for its taste. There is no reason not to have continuity in the request."
The challenge of 2019
With the Locabelle, TerreAzur has mainly created a demand among restaurateurs looking for a tasty tomato. "We sell large volumes to independent catering. Until now we had difficulty having enough volumes in Paris, but this year our plantations have increased. This will allow us to offer the product to restaurant chains."
TerreAzur has a strong ambition on Locabelle and on tomatoes grown outdoors. "Old varieties above ground are not necessarily the same varieties as what we do in season outdoors for catering. We continue to promote these taste products. We offer coloured varieties, black, yellow and elongated. We will continue to expand this range strongly on our restaurateur customers for the 2019 season, which starts next week and will last until 15 October."
For more information: