Dec 22 2020

December 2020 update

Reflecting on 2020

To say that 2020 has been a year of unprecedented uncertainty and disruption feels like a huge understatement.

However, I believe that fresh tomato growers can take huge pride in the way they responded to the challenges of 2020 with innovation and resilience. 

Throughout the year and despite the lockdowns, growers adapted their production and sales to keep providing essential, healthy, high quality tomatoes for New Zealanders to enjoy; they kept employing people; and they kept contributing to the economy. 

The challenges and frustrations of operating under the threat of covid-19 have not yet disappeared. Border restriction mean lower seasonal labour supply and greatly reduced opportunities to export; costs of operating have increased; and there is still the possibility of further lockdowns affecting business in the future. 

At TomatoesNZ we are continuing to work closely with the other horticultural product groups and Horticulture NZ to do everything possible to support growers. That includes speaking at least weekly with government officials to talk to them about the policy and other settings that growers need to succeed and prosper. These range from conversations about future energy solutions, to the types of R&D and innovation needed to take the industry forward. 

It is our privilege and pleasure to do this work in Wellington for all of NZ’s fresh tomato growers.

How do shoppers buy fresh tomatoes?

TomatoesNZ commissioned a Nielsen Homescan research report in August to understand fresh tomato consumers and shopper purchase dynamics.  This information has been instrumental in informing domestic market promotion this summer.

Key findings:

  • 5.6% value growth for tomatoes in the previous year, with positive growth across all tomato purchase metrics - all tomato types have gained buyers, were purchased more often and had higher spend per shop.   
  • Core tomato buyers are adults over 45 years. Younger shoppers and households with younger children buy fewer tomatoes.
  • Barcoded (packaged) tomatoes account for more than half the category sales, but are purchased less frequently than loose tomatoes and showed lower growth in sales compared to loose during the year.  
  • The average volume of fresh tomatoes per household shopper surveyed is currently 8.8 kilograms annually

The research figures suggest there is an opportunity to increase loyalty and repeat purchasing among shoppers who already frequently purchased tomatoes, because tomato spend for the year did not increase as much as fresh vegetable spend. 

TomatoesNZ is looking into further research to understand why tomatoes are less appealing to younger shoppers and families with young children.  This will guide how to address barriers to purchase whilst keeping our core buyers happy.

If you would like to receive the Nielsen report please contact Karen Orr call 04 494 9984.

Look out for fresh tomato promotions this month

Design 3TomatoesNZ has invested in a new fresh tomato promotional campaign to remind kiwi’s to enjoy tomatoes now whilst they’re plentiful, full of flavour and great value. 

The campaign is running from mid-November to mid-January, whilst there is plenty of supply available.   A series of rotating ads will be used on facebook and interactive stories on instagram under a new “NZ Tomatoes” handle.

The social media-based campaign’s objective is to increase the frequency of purchase by encouraging shoppers to add tomatoes to their weekly shopping basket.   The plan includes providing recipes, inspiration and nutrition facts to remind consumers of reasons to purchase fresh tomatoes.

In addition, we’ve teamed up with 5+ A Day to enhance the ongoing promotion of tomatoes the team provide through their extensive social media and publicity channels.    A radio ad is airing across the Mediaworks stable of stations for two months.  Their stations are Auckland Mai, More, Rock, Breeze, Sound and the Edge.   A billboard is currently celebrating the tomato season in Mt Wellington, Auckland, and this will be in place until the end of December

Please follow and share @nztomatoes and @5adaynz on Facebook and Instagram.

Updated residue compliance information poster – insecticides and fungicides

A TomatoesNZ “New Zealand residue compliance information for fresh greenhouse tomatoes 2020” poster was posted to members in November.  This replaces last year’s edition of the same poster. 

A booklet with additional information on individual trade named products is also in progress and will be provided to all greenhouse tomato growers shortly.   Meantime a spreadsheet (MS Excel) version is available electronically to members. Please get in touch if you would like the files, or more copies of the poster. 

We recommend that growers dispose of previous years compliance information as some of that information is now out of date.   If you have any suggestions for improving the format or information provided please let us know.

Greenhouse vegetable grower energy survey

Thank you to everyone who completed the online greenhouse energy survey during late October-early November.  We received over 70 responses and several enquiries.   Congratulations to Andrew MacLaurin from Flat Tac Capsicums in Ngatea who was the lucky winner of the gourmet food basket.

Data gathered from the survey will be used to help inform a bid for funding support from government towards research and implementation of energy transition options for greenhouse growers.  In November a Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund was announced.  The $70 million fund, administered by EECA, will allow business and industries to access financial support to switch away from boilers run on coal and gas, to cleaner electricity and biomass options.

TomatoesNZ and Vegetables NZ have been talking with EECA for several months now about the heating needs of greenhouse growers, recognising that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach for indoor vegetable growers.   We are hopeful of forming a co-funded partnership arrangement to help provide growers with options and support for lowering emissions in a fiscally sensible manner.

We will provide a summary of the aggregated data analysis from the survey early in 2021.  If you have any questions in the meantime please contact us.