Tomato Week 2021 by the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) was packed with the latest data and market trends for the fresh tomato industry. The webinar series began on March 9th and concluded on March 11th.
To kick off Tomato Week, Rick Stein from FMI, The Food Industry Association shared the latest data about fresh tomatoes in supermarkets and predictions for the industry moving forward. An important theme throughout Stein’s presentation was the growth of e-commerce markets and how these impacted fresh imported tomatoes.
Day two featured Dari Duval from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at University of Arizona. Duval’s presentation covered the impact from Mexican tomatoes in the U.S. economy. The data collected from the study Mexican Fresh Tomatoes: Agribusiness Value Chain Contributions to the U.S. Economy | Agricultural and Resource Economics (arizona.edu) showcased economic contributions supported by fresh imported tomatoes including $2.9 billion dollars in GDP, and 33,000 jobs in the U.S.
To conclude the webinar series, Daniel Scheitrum from the University of Arizona, presented on the recently published Impact of COVID-19 on U.S. Fresh Tomato Markets (arcgis.com) storymap. Scheitrum focused on the one-year mark since the COVID-19 pandemic began, highlighting how the fresh tomato industry was impacted by the lockdowns and market changes that occurred throughout 2020.
The charts were highlighted throughout the study as an example of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on fresh tomatoes.
“One key finding of the COVID-19 study is that foodservice tomato sales, especially round mature green tomatoes, have not recovered their market share, due to consumer preference for vine-ripened round tomatoes at retail. COVID-19 has changed many patterns, including where tomatoes are consumed, and by extension, which kinds of growers are able to prosper,” said Lance Jungmeyer, FPAA president. “This has lasting and positive connotations for vine-ripened tomatoes produced in protected environments.”
FPAA looks forward to planning Tomato Week 2022. A recap of each webinar from Tomato Week 2021 will be posted to the FPAA website.
Looking ahead, FPAA’s annual Policy Summit will be happening in April 2021. The summit will focus on trade barriers, foreign affairs and sustainability trends including a special presentation during Earth Day. More details to come.