The tomato season is entering its final stretch in Almeria. "It has been a difficult campaign, with product shortages, but with good prices, and with the threat of the Brown Rugose Virus," says Jordi Ballester, manager of the company Let It Out Food Creativity, who has devoted his life to the development of tomato varieties, and who founded this company in the middle of the pandemic.
After more than 30 years working in the biotechnology sector and the world of seeds, employed by companies such as Nunhems and Semillas Fitó, he wanted to launch a new project. Rather than a business project, it is a vital project built upon years of experience and aimed at bringing a different vision and value to the agrifood tech ecosystem.
"We always hear talk about 'the value chain,' and I see it as an ecosystem where products, money, and information flow. Currently, this ecosystem is highly polarized by the retail sector, which is becoming more and more powerful, and the seed houses. The producer has become a mere intermediary. We aim to manage these assets by trying to distribute the value in a more equitable way. We want the producer to be empowered again."
"Building up a brand is more than just sticking a label on a fruit"
One of Jordi Ballester's success stories is Semillas Fitó's ribbed Monterosa tomato. "It's like a son to me and is part of my life. The product has been a success story, even though in the beginning it was assumed it would be discarded, and today it is one of the most valuable tomato brands," says Jordi Ballester.
And how is it perceived or valued? "Well, by the number of hectares devoted permanently to its cultivation and the fact that other seed companies are already offering similar products, or that there are already very similar brands, such as Cassarosa, from Yuksel. Building up a brand is much more than sticking a label on a fruit. For a start, you need to have a great product, but you also need to know how to back it throughout the chain, find the right partners and know how to communicate to and reach the end consumer," he says.
Let it Out's presence in Almería
This year, the company has been running a trial field on a Saborum Origen farm which has received many visitors, including seed companies, producers, and even retailers. "We have showcased our innovation to everyone since we do not see seed companies as competitors but as partners. For the next season, we will have a farm with more than 5,000 m² of greenhouses and an office in the PITA of the University of Almeria," says Jordi.
Arlekin, the first bicolor tomato both on the inside and outside, to be the next big launch
For the 2023/2024 season, Let it Out is introducing the Tomatelier brand, the specialty tomato brand from the Italian company Biogya, which features a range of very interesting cherry, cocktail on the vine, and beef heart varieties, according to Jordi Ballester. "We will introduce the Arlekin family of tomatoes, the world's first bicolor tomatoes both on the inside and outside. Moreover, we are introducing Breedex's seedless bell pepper PEPPERITO for Lidl, hand in hand with La Palma, Única, and Vicasol."
As for the next tomato season, Jordi Ballester predicts "that the rise in production costs, the impact of climate change, and the presence of the Brown Rugose Virus will not make it easy for us, but we have a great opportunity for Almeria to establish itself once again as a tomato leader in Europe," he said.
For more information:
Let It Out Food Creativity
Mob: +34 669 88 27 20