Consistent Flandria® tomato segments, larger supplies of specials

The Flandria tomato segmentation has long been a suitable response to demand from the market for differentiated supply and homogeneous products. Larger supplies now also make segmentation in specialties possible. Innovative products tap into trends such as snacking, healthy eating and convenience.

A solid basis for the trade
Ahead of the 2016 segmentation, a number of varieties were tested last year for their cultivation, quality and flavour characteristics, and the varieties for Flandria loose and cluster tomatoes were decided.
LAVA reports that the area under loose tomatoes remains virtually unchanged. There has been a slight increase in the area under cluster tomatoes in both traditional cluster (Elite, Princess) and specialties.
The number of permitted varieties within a single segment remains limited: this guarantees consistent quality. The growers, the auction and the LAVA cooperative are committed to continuous crop and fruit quality monitoring throughout the entire growing season. Buyers who opt for a particular segment can guarantee their end customers a homogenous product all season long, which gives the trade a solid basis.

A tomato to suit everyone
The LAVA auctions supply premium-quality Belgian products almost all year round. Appearance, freshness, colour and flavour are all important criteria for the trade and the consumer alike. The segmentation model for tomatoes offers a wide array of products with a range of flavours, colours, sizes and shapes. Basically, a tomato to suit everyone, for festive occasions and everyday purposes alike.

Naturally, the 'classics' are still available:
• Loose: Baron, Prince and Romared
• Cluster: Elite, Princess and Prunella

Ample supplies guaranteed
From March, ample supplies of both loose and cluster tomatoes will be available at the auctions. Production of loose tomatoes will hit 1.5 million kg as early as week 14. The subsequent weeks will see supplies increasing dramatically, reaching a peak of 2.5 to 3 million kg per week by week 17. When it comes to cluster tomatoes, the LAVA auctions are expecting supplies to increase to 1 million kg per week. Production increases in weeks 15-16 to between 1.5 and 2 million kg/week, reaching 2.5 to 2.8 million kg/week by week 17.

Block formation for specials
2016 sees an increase in the area under specials, but the number is rising again. Large areas under a particular variety do produce higher supplies of the same product. When it comes to specialties, large blocks of product are now available on the clock all season long. The segmentation guarantees consistent quality, homogeneous products and good keeping properties. For example, Cherrystar - a classic among the specialties - still allows only one variety. The variety also delivers the same brix value all season, which is an important selling point for the fresh market and the processing industry. Consumers can be sure of getting the same handsome, tasty little tomato all year round.

Innovations in packaging
Packaging is another area in which the auctions are bringing out some new ideas this season. Every auction is creating its own exclusive packaging line, reacting flexibly to demand from the retail side and various groups of consumers. For example, there are attractive packs for children, designed to encourage young parents to buy healthy, alternative 'snack foods'. Nostalgia is also a big theme: for instance, snack tomatoes now come in a resealable plastic pot. Quantities and composition can be varied depending on the buyer: 500/350 g, single colour (red) or mixed (yellow, red, orange).

Make the most of perception
Consumers in 2016 are definitely looking for variety: they want something special and they want a taste experience. Snacking and convenience are the perfect response to this desire. Specials tick all the boxes: they are decorative and ready to use, making them perfectly suited for snacks, canapés and as a garnish for cocktails, as well as acting as ingredients in all sorts of dishes (even desserts). These attractive niche products are also perfectly in tune with the trend for healthy snacking. Make the most of these selling points! A festive array of 'home-grown' tomatoes can boost your sales.


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