After fluctuating prices for tomatoes from the Netherlands (which can make it difficult to keep costs down for the UK market) UK distributor Sharrocks Fresh Produce (GT Group), has made the switch to a primarily Polish supply. Five weeks into the new program, and over 100,000 kilos later, GT Group Managing Director Daniel Thompson said that they are very pleased with the decision and that Polish tomatoes are doing very well.

"We started importing Polish tomatoes for the first time this year. The quality is very good; the colouration, size and flavour is great and they are consistent. The most favourable aspect of Polish tomatoes is that the prices don't fluctuate daily like the Dutch. We are able to negotiate the price weekly or monthly and, as we are not subject to the vagaries of the Dutch auction, it allows us to control our own destiny a bit more." Said Daniel Thompson.

Although it's difficult to give an exact percentage, due to the fluctuation of Dutch pricing, the company estimates that the Polish tomatoes are around 20% better value than their Dutch counterparts.

The most common variety of the Polish tomatoes is the Admiro in 6kg boxes, which come with or without the calyx (green bit on top of the tomato). Most of the tomatoes that Sharrocks sells are loose, and they find that this is a great volume line to wholesalers/foodservice companies.



Domestic tomatoes are currently available, but due to lack of supply, it is necessary to source Dutch and Polish tomatoes in order to fill in the gaps.

"The volume for domestic tomatoes is not there and is really limited. You can't just ring up and order any volume you like. Most of the local growers already have commitments with supermarkets so they are only able to supply one or too pallets a day, if there is availability. You cannot ring up and get what you like, which is where the Dutch and Polish supply comes in. With them, I have the ability to request whatever amount I need and can even have it by the next day." said Thompson.
 
In regards to what UK consumers are looking for in a tomato, Wilf Whittle from Sharrocks Fresh Produce replied, "When choosing a tomato, we have found that our customers are looking for consistent colour and firmness. We’ve also done some tasting sessions and have been thoroughly impressed with the Polish tomatoes we have received. They offer great value for all involved."

For more information:
Wilf Whittle
Sharrocks Fresh Produce
Tel: +44 (0)1772 724444
Fax: +44 (0)1772 725151
Email: sales@sharrocks.com or
wilf@sharrocks.com
www.sharrocks.com