"70% of tomatoes in supermarket are now of foreign origin"

In the first months of the year, Flemish tomato production goes through a standard off-peak period when only the exposed greenhouse growers bring their fruit to the auctions. This year, there are even fewer tomatoes, as many greenhouse growers have decided not to use any or less lighting due to high energy costs.

Maarten Verhaegen, BelOrta's vegetable sales manager, estimates in an article by VILT that 70 per cent of tomatoes in the supermarket are now of foreign origin, compared to the normal 30-40 per cent. During February, he expects these proportions to shift.

Winter production remains an option, just perhaps for a more selective number of varieties. "Possibly, our companies are more likely to specialise in certain tomato varieties. Take the plum tomato, for example. It is very difficult to bring these here from Morocco in cold trailers. That is very much at the expense of quality and shelf life."

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