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Tom Ammerlaan, Red Egg:

"Fight our way into the German market after Russian drop out"

The positioning and brand strategy of plum tomato Red Egg has been worked on for years, and the plum tomatoes were doing exceptionally well on the Russian market. Or did, as this sales market has dropped out since the boycott. New sales markets have been sought after and found. "We have had fight our way into the German market." 

At the start of this season Tom Ammerlaan of Themato nursery spoke about the goal of becoming less dependent on Russia with the Red Egg plum tomatoes. The strikingly shaped Romanella plum tomatoes are very popular in the country and reasonable to good prices were made. "But is is a concern: if the border closes, we have a problem," Ammerlaan predicted. This is why the sales organisation The Greenery placed a stronger focus on other markets. "We really had to fight our way into Germany - make sure we were there instead of other tomatoes. At the start you do this based on price. Only when they recognise you and come back for your product can you do anything about it." The Reg Egg tomatoes are now available at Metro and Rewe, among others. Do they have to compete against Dutch or German produce? "German produce has been a big hype, but due to expansions more and more growers are noticing that they are full," says Ammerlaan. "The price differences between German and Dutch products then decrease." 

Red Egg in the German supermarket Metro

Red Egg in the German supermarket Rewe

Bad prices
At the moment the prices are back at a reasonably level. "We have had a very bad August and the beginning of September was also very difficult. You can see that the new markets are becoming structured and the lines are starting to run properly. At the moment there isn't any Spanish competition yet, part of the area is being swapped and the production is already lower than in the peak season. So it's a question of how next year will go."

The unlit season lasts until mid November for the Red Egg. In the winter there will be production from the lit cultivation for the second year at Gebroeders Zwinkels. "A lot of plum tomatoes are grown in Spain. There is tough competition and you have to make a profit. There are still few buyers who are to be tied down all year round for that profit." This is why there are doubts about the unlit and lit extension of the area: vine tomatoes or Red Egg? Gebr. Zwinkels still has some vines and these could be switched. "You notice that other plum tomatoes are struggling. It could be that less of them will be sold," says Ammerlaan, something that could give the market some breathing space. "We are still discussing what to do with this."

For sales information:
Ronald van den Berg,
The Greenery
tel: 0180 180 657 975
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