Following on from their Berry Monitor, Roamler introduced a Tomato Monitor last fall. This device gives an overview of the entire European tomato landscape's data in one convenient dashboard. "It was received very enthusiastically. Customers from several European countries are connected to this monitor," says Christiaan Rijnhout.
For more than ten years, this crowdsourcing platform has been assisting parties in the whole fruit and vegetable chain, from breeders to retailers. They give them detailed information and photos via a smartphone community. But, now, for the first time, this Dutch company is offering this in a subscription form for, specifically, the soft fruit and tomato categories.
Both the Berry and Tomato monitors now have a new tool - a quality component. "Our 'Roamlers' visits store to rate each product's quality on a scale from one to five. Of course, it's a subjective judgment; we realize that. However, it does give a fantastic picture of consumers' perception of quality," Christiaan explains.
"We assess a huge number of tomatoes and soft fruits every week. The products that were found to be terrible or excellent provide especially interesting findings that, for example, highlight quality problems. That appeals to new client groups, like inspectors and the supermarkets themselves."
The Tomato Monitor was launched in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Poland, with France since being added. "We consider that country right from the start. France is a big market with a broad, innovative tomato offering. That's why we added it so quickly. More countries will follow. Roamler's active in 15 European countries. Ireland was added to the list, so we'll soon have nationwide coverage in that market as well," says Christiaan.
And it will not stop with tomatoes. There are plans to set up a monitor for the reaming fruit-vegetables (bell peppers, cucumbers, and eggplants) in June. "Many chain parties active in the tomato segment also do other fruit-vegetables. We evidently struck the right chord because there was demand for a monitor for the other products fairly quickly. The great thing is that these monitors serve many parties throughout the chain."
"Everyone uses the information that's most valuable to them. Players like exporters and supermarkets are mainly interested in price and origin. Growers want to know how the products fare on store shelves," Rijnhout says. "Breeders want data about the types being offered, while packers want to know what type of packaging is used. Now they can all see all that in the same dashboard. The photos are easy to view and download from the online environment."
"These monitors provide you with the latest information, so you can quickly identify trends. You can, thus, strengthen your market position. You get a significant lead about what's going on in stores. Interested parties from other product groups should, therefore, definitely contact us. The more experts we speak to, the more complete we can make the monitors. We currently have two monitors, but by the end of the year, that could be as many as four or five," concludes Christiaan.