Organic products: the market is still tentative (part 4)
- François-Xavier Branthôme
Organic tomato processing in the world: Other European Countries and USA
In Spain, organic tomato processing is carried out by a very small number of companies, among which only the largest Spanish operators are active. Over the past three years, this sector has absorbed between 65 000 and 70 000 mT per year.
In Portugal, the dedicated surfaces are reduced, but the sector is trying to develop this segment. The processed quantities are 2,500 mT, harvested from an area of about 80 hectares.
In France, the mobilization of surfaces for growing organic processing tomatoes only really got started, like in Italy, with the 2015 season. Processed volumes, which had previously ranged between 2 200 and 2 300 tonnes, rapidly increased to 5 000 mT in 2016, 7 500 mT in 2017 and close on 11 000 mT in 2018.
Organic tomatoes are mostly (66%) intended for processing into juice and, to a lesser extent, into pastes and peeled tomatoes.
Distribution of raw materials according to finished product category
In Greece, up until last year, the quantity of organic processed tomato products produced was negligible. All organic products were imported; even the organic passata manufactured in Greece was made from imported tomato paste. There were some "home-style" organic sauces produced locally, but they were unrecorded.
This year, both Damavand and Nomikos will process small trial quantities of paste, passata and diced tomato. The total volume of raw materials used will not exceed 1 000 tonnes for each product category.
The quantities processed in the organic segment in Chile and Ukraine are of a similar order, approximately 8 000 mT in Chile (grown on about 100 hectares) and 8 000 to 10 000 mT in Ukraine, over the past two seasons. Data collected by the WPTC also indicate anecdotal organic crops in Turkey and Canada as well as some activity in Australia.
In the United States, the Processing Tomato Advisory Board has carried out a weekly record-keeping operation that keeps tally of organic tomatoes processed during the season, as distinct from total volumes (see our articles reporting on weekly updates between July and September). In 2018, the tonnage processed in California amounted to 523 300 short tons (474 700 mT). It does not seem that other US states are active in this segment.
The volumes processed in recent years in California have been the world's largest. They increased dramatically after 2013 to a peak crop in 2016, followed by a big readjustment during the 2017 season, which explains the wide variations in results in recent years (-40% from 2016 to 2017, +21% from 2017 to 2018). The volumes of organic tomatoes processed last year matched the average dynamics of previous seasons, down 4% against the average tonnage of the three preceding years.
A small number of processors, amongst which are the biggest operators of the industry, grow raw materials for the production of organic pastes, chopped tomatoes and other products intended for industrial use. Although there are no accurate figures regarding the volumes absorbed, it does seem that most of the Californian operators use part of their organic production to manufacture products distributed in catering conditionings and in retail packaging formats.
Among the brands associated with the image of organic tomato products in the United States, the main ones are Muir Glen, Classico, Hunts, Contadina, Del Monte, Pacific, Bertolli, Rao, Newman, and Heinz.
In the final count, global organic tomato processing reportedly absorbed slightly more than 850 000 mT in 2018, a tonnage that represents approximately 2.4% of total volumes processed last year (34.8 million mT).
Some complementary data
Italy's Organic Tomato Production in 2018
Source: foodnavigator.com, distribucionactualidad.com, agrodiariohuelva.es, murciaeconomia.com, alimarket.es, IRI, distribuzionemoderna.info, ANICAV, gazzettadellemilia.it, Other Professional Sources
This article is an extract from the 2019 Processed Tomato Yearbook which was distributed to attendees at the Tomato News Conference and which can be purchased from this website (go to GET LISTED) or by sending the order form.
Organic products: the market is still tentative (part 3)
Organic products: the market is still tentative (part 2)
Organic products: the market is still tentative (part 1)
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