National Marketplace News
It is just as well that Flavorite Tomatoes developed a delicious tasting brand for supermarkets because co-owner, Mark Millis, eats them everyday and he can’t eat tomatoes that lack flavour.
His favourite way to eat them is sliced, with pepper, on a piece of toast. It’s part of his morning tea routine each day.
Hydroponic tomoatoes came into their own with the Flavorite 12 hectares of greenhouse tomato production at Warragul in Victoria.
Mark was in Brisbane Markets during October to help launch Flavorite’s latest variety. Mark owns half of Flavorite and the legacy of his previous partner, Warren Nichol, who passed away recenltly, was always on quality rather than absolute volume. The thing that Warren always pushed to the forefront was continually improving the product to satisfy the retailer.
Flavorite production plus marketing basically aimed to engage the consumer with tomatoes that tasted really good.
Mar said, from day one, we’ve aimed to do truss Tomatoes that way and focus on creating a genuine supermarket category. To do that we went right back, beginning with growing our own seedlings.
“We put all our efforts into Truss harvesting, carrying it right through to the cool chain management of the product, so that we can guarantee the shelf-life. The extra shelf-life and flavour was welcomed by the consumers. We’ve seen the market growth because our product is now a genuine supermarket product all around Australia.
“They are now available in all Queensland supermarkets whereas five years ago that wasn’t the case. I think in the last three years we’ve seen the most resistance from Adelaide and Brisbane because there has been so much local produce that has been available at a cheaper price.
“Initially some retailers thought it was too hard to get rid of expensive delicious tasting tomatoes but this hasn’t been the case.
“There are thousands of varieties to start with, there are lots of different ways of feeding them and there are lots of different ways to grow them. Even in a hydroponic situation you can blow the tomatoes up with water and destroy the flavour if you are not careful. If you’re prepared to spend the time finding the perfect balance between acid and sugar, making sure he product has the right amount of nutrients etc, you’re going to get results.
“Also it still relies on the breeding because some tomatoes are never going to taste any good no matter what you do to them. And let’s face it, there are still a lot of producers around the world that are focusing purely on volume and not on flavour. They’ll argue until they are black and blue in the face that they don’t get paid for flavour.
“I think it is a major concern in the industry that products are being dumbed-down so that the price becomes the only major issue. But we keep giving them the best taste,” Mark Millis said