The British Tomato Growers Association has highlighted that UK growers are ready and willing to increase the percentage of home-grown crop eaten by UK consumers from its current level of 20 per cent.
The association’s Technical Officer Dr Philip Morley says growers are very upbeat about the future of the domestic industry and are ready to meet demand through sustainable approaches. “In Britain, we eat around 500,000 tons of fresh tomatoes every year, with consumers spending around £921m annually. UK growers produce around 20% of this total by volume – this goes up to around half during summer, which is peak British tomato season,” he says. “UK growers also produce around 25% by value, as British tomatoes tend to be premium crops.”
He highlights recent expansion by a number of growers show how they are ready to meet demand through sustainable approaches. “The high level of investment needed to build a glasshouse (approximately £1m per hectare) is a limitation on rapid expansion. So too is the culture of ‘cheap food’ making even the best growers struggle for profitability,” Philip says. “Despite this, British growers are ready to meet the demand and produce superb quality crops all year round. Key to this is sustainable growth and business techniques.”
To share this story more broadly, the TGA has launched a new website, featuring cases studies from growers including Thanet Earth, Flavourfresh, Red Roofs, Glinwell, La Serra, The Green House Growers, R & L Holt together with new images and information on when and where to buy British tomatoes.
Photo Caption: Matthew Simon of Glinwell PLC is one of the growers who features on the new TGA website