Tomato production in Morocco has evolved considerably over the last ten years, moving from a production profile of 80% round tomatoes to supplying all categories of tomatoes. Today 50% of the total Moroccan production portfolio is dedicated to producing cherry tomatoes, baby plum tomatoes, colored selections and cocktail tomatoes on the vine. The agility of Moroccan producers to change direction is well demonstrated by the pioneering Duroc who switched their entire production in 2005 to specialise in “snacking tomatoes”.
This cutting-edge approach of 16 years ago was tailor-made for the UK market and so with a strategy of 100% dedication to snacking tomatoes, Duroc’s position was firmly established. Since then, the R&D department at Duroc have continued fine-tuning their approach by working on 3 fundamental aspects – new variety development, competitiveness and service. All three of these factors are interconnected and interdependent.
The Duroc approach to varietal development is to focus on the eating experience, the shelf life and the diversification of consumer choice. Over 80 varietal selections are trialled annually in collaboration with seed companies. Each year, those that are selected to have best exhibited the desired characteristics are trialled and evaluated under commercial production conditions. If the evaluations are promising, further larger scale plantings follow.
Celia® (baby plum) and Red Sweet® (cherry tomatoes) are amongst the winners from this intensive selection process. These two varietal selections are exclusive to Duroc. In 2022, Duroc will introduce the new Celia® and the new Red Sweet® which have proven to be sweeter and tastier thanks to the higher brix levels that both develop. These two new selections have also been shown to be less sensitive to changes in climatic conditions.
In the ‘speciality’ sector Duroc have specifically targeted new variety selections with exceptional flavour to challenge the popular protected varieties. As a result, Duroc will reveal in 2022 new outstanding “on the vine” varietal selections. For cherry tomatoes, this is the new Cheribelle® and for baby plum tomatoes this is the new Caramello®. Both benefit from having high brix, high juice level and a crunchy ‘bite’. The same year, Duroc will add other new lines to the offer: cocktail round and cocktail plum, both on the vine.
To maintain competitiveness in the ‘non-speciality’ standard & core lines, Duroc recognises the crucial importance of high crop yield and good shelf life. So, although the new Celia® and the new Red Sweet® show many superior characteristics compared to the varieties currently available, Duroc will target these new varieties for inclusion in the score lines.
Finally, to provide the highest level of customer-specific service now expected, Duroc is equipped to deliver tomatoes not only in bulk or loose format but also in all types of different prepacked formats as specified by customers: bags, heat-sealed punnets, shakers, jars, presentation boxes and so on. To provide this packing and specialist packaging flexibility, Duroc’s packhouse is being totally redesigned and expanded according to the principles of flow-forward logic.
The ambition of Duroc is always to be regarded as the Moroccan snacking tomato specialist. Duroc will export 50,000 tons of small tomatoes, all thanks to the dedication and hard work of a motivated team. Fairtrade certification is currently in preparation and is expected to be completed before the end of 2021. The workers are excited about it and show more pride and dedication.