November/December 2022 - 18

Big Purple Tomato by Norfolk Plant Sciences
Purple is not a color one normally associates with tomatoes,
although several purplish-skinned varieties have recently
come to market. None, however, have come close to the
one developed by Norfolk Plant Sciences in the U.K. The
genetically modified, purple-fleshed tomato contains high
levels of antioxidants and anthocyanins, levels normally
found in fruits such as blueberries and blackberries. The
tomato was created by adding two genes from snapdragons
that turn on genes that express purple pigment throughout
the tomato, not just in its skin.
But the Big Purple Tomato offers more than just rich
color. Its developer, Cathie Martin, professor at the
John Innes Centre, said it offers longer shelf life, which
reduces food waste, as well as great taste and depth of color
to food dishes. Recognized for her work in making fruits
and vegetables more nutritious, Martin was announced
winner of the prestigious 2022 Rank Prize for Nutrition.
In its review, USDA APHIS determined that the tomato
is unlikely to pose an increased plant pest risk relative
to other cultivated tomatoes. As such, it is not subject to
regulations limiting movement of organisms modified or
produced through genetic engineering.
 Pacific Coast Producers' line of canned, tricolor, rustic-cut
tomatoes includes fire-roasted salsa.
Fire-roasted tomatoes by Pacific Coast Producers
There are more than new varieties hitting the market.
Processors have also launched new products aimed
at keeping consumers excited. Pacific Coast Producers is
one such processer. Two years ago, the company launched
a line of canned, tricolor, rustic-cut tomatoes aimed at
consumers who were looking for fresh new options for
salsa, salads and bruschetta. The line was well received
by consumers but challenging to produce, explained
Tami Iverson, director of marketing and communications
at Pacific Coast Producers.
" Growing and picking those products caused a lot of
bottlenecks for our farmers and our cannery, " she said.
" It was just a very hard product to process because it was
such a small pack. Our cannery is meant to produce large
quantities, so just having that little niche market in our
cannery was a little difficult to maneuver for us. "
Pacific Coast Producers decided to shift efforts towards
producing fire-roasted tomatoes in-house. The company
had been selling fire-roasted tomatoes for half a decade or
more, but fire roasting was done by one of their partner
companies, Morning Star. Moving processing in-house has
allowed Pacific Coast Producers to expand beyond retail
and into food service. It's also allowed them to introduce
new can sizes and fresh options in terms of seasonings,
including green chili and garlic.
" Fire roasting is something that we wanted to bring
in-house, " said Iverson. " Because that's a category
that was growing quite a bit in organic and conventional
tomatoes. "
" This will definitely be a larger pack for us, so we will not
have those issues with that niche product, " she concluded.

November/December 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November/December 2022

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