Most of us remember going to the supermarket as children and seeing one type of tomato in the vegetable aisle. In many places in Europe and the U.S. those days are long gone. And one of the companies responsible for this change is Hazera.
“Today if you walk into a supermarket in Holland or California, you will probably find 15-20 types of tomatoes on display,” says Yaron Giras, Global Tomato Product Manager at Hazera.
Hazera is a global leader in the seed industry, and holds 10% of the global market of fresh tomato seeds. The company markets a variety of other vegetable seeds, but tomatoes are their specialty, and make up over 25% of the company’s business. The company is the leader in the Israeli tomato market and a very strong player in the markets in the Mexico, USA Spain, China, Turkey and Greece especially.
Hazera invests extensively in research & development of new varieties of tomatoes. According to Giras, the company invests over 15% of its revenue in R&D every year, and maintains many breeding teams, different breeding programs and dozens of researchers, all dedicated to bringing consumers the tastiest tomatoes possible.
So what are the latest trends, what is the market looking for in new breeds of tomatoes? “The story is all about taste,” says Giras. “The market is very focused on making the new varieties of tomatoes as tasty as possible. Customers' demands are at the heart of everything we do. Today the concept of food from a customer perspective has changed. Food is no longer just an existential need, but a quality of life, leisure and entertainment. There is also a desire for variety – in colors, shapes and sizes – the desire to be different and stand out on the supermarket shelf.”
Another trend is the growing mini plum tomato variety (also known as grape or snack tomatoes), which is the small, more oval shaped tomato. This type of tomato is one of Hazera’s strongest and growing categories.
Hazera is expanding its reach beyond dominant markets, most recently into Africa, especially Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe. According to Giras, the African market is growing and moving from open pollination varieties to hybrid tomatoes varieties, which are more consistent and have more resistant, high yield, and which are already dominant in the America and Europe.
On the R&D front, Hazera has recently debuted three new tomato varieties – Maggie and Goutine, two new tasty tomatoes, and the new Whitney cherry tomato variety. “We bred these new tomatoes for the best possible taste, as per the market’s demands. The reactions to these new varieties has been wonderful,” concludes Giras. “We look forward to seeing these new varieties succeed in the world, and to bringing more and better varieties to consumers through our ongoing R&D activities.”
Hazera is part of the international Limagrain Group. Hazera is a worldwide leader in the breeding, development, production and marketing of hybrid vegetable seed varieties, characterized by advanced research & development, marketing throughout the world, and agro-technical support. The company, which was established more than 75 years ago, constantly develops new products that address market needs and are marketed via 12 subsidiaries and distributed in more than100 markets worldwide. Limagrain is an international agribusiness corporation. The corporation is composed of 2000 framers in the center of France. Limagrain is the fourth largest seed company in the world, and the second largest in the field of vegetable seeds, with an annual turnover estimated to total about 2 billion Euros.