Three Reasons TomatoVision Represents the Future of Tomatoes
Nestled in the western region of the Netherlands, Syngenta Vegetable Seeds is quietly innovating and creating the future of tomatoes at TomatoVision. With consumers, growers, and future advancements in mind, researchers are taking the possibilities for tomatoes to all new heights.
TomatoVision welcomes people from around the world to learn about new practices, varieties, and cutting-edge breeding techniques. Those who visit TomatoVision in person or virtually will learn from Syngenta experts how up-and-coming varieties perform in many conditions and how to put together a portfolio mix for any operation. From saladette to beefsteak and every size and taste in between, Syngenta is a proud leader in tomatoes.
“At Syngenta Vegetable Seeds, we’re working hard to bring new innovations to our customers every year,” said Rik Lootens, Syngenta Portfolio Lead for Tomato and Blocky Pepper, Active Greenhouse, and High-Tech Production. “Only 10% of innovations proposed make it to commercial use—that’s a challenge, so we need to make sure our customers and our customers’ customers are getting products that meet their needs.”
1. Breeders Develop Products for Changing Consumer Preferences
Our growers answer to consumer needs, which means we need to stay ahead of evolving customer preferences. Sustainability is top-of-mind for many, but taste and convenience still reign supreme. Our breeding programs seek solutions for even the pickiest of consumers.
“We’re developing products that better satisfy consumers,” Lootens said. “Convenience, health, taste, and sustainability remain among the highest demands. Ultimately, it all comes down to the consumer because everyone in the value chain relies on them, so we’re identifying new and emerging opportunities for those customers.”
For example, Syngenta’s Yoom™ tomatoes bring taste customers and chefs around the world crave. The bite-sized fruit provides convenience, umami, and an interesting color to any kitchen. This innovation won the Fruit Logistica Innovation Award in 2020, and showcases Syngenta’s dedication to finding new varieties that provide value to growers and varieties that give consumers interesting new foods to incorporate into their diets.
2. Researchers Breed Tomatoes for Agronomic Success
Whether you’re a consumer, retailer, shipper, or any link in the value chain, one need is constant: you need growers to cultivate successful crops. We listen to growers’ perspectives and needs to help them raise the best crop for their operation.
“We’re using genetics to help growers optimize their tomato harvests,” Lootens explained. “We’re looking for genetics that help combat disease resistance, genetics that make plants ready for advancements in mechanical harvesting, and genetics that ultimately provide higher yields.”
Take research into Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV), for example, Syngenta was the first company to announce the launch of a resistant variety in 2020. Today we have five varieties commercially available and 17 in trials nearing completion. This virus can steal up to 70% of growers’ yields, and they’re in great need of solutions.
3. Syngenta Actively Discovers Technology and Genetics for the Future
Agriculture is changing rapidly – and so is tomato production. As more opportunities for efficiency and precision emerge, Syngenta is implementing these systems into trialing.
For example, breeding with data in mind means researchers take millions of possibilities, millions of scenarios, millions of genes, and put all that information together to determine the best candidates for future tomato varieties. It means capturing and applying trial data in ways more powerful than ever before – with actionable data that researchers can use and share with growers.
On the production side, labor costs account for between 30% and 40% of total cost for growers. Syngenta is trialing new technologies that growers might use in the future to reduce labor costs: like robotic harvesting. Tomato Vision is testing a harvesting robot to learn more about its efficiencies, and how tomato breeding needs to adapt to be mechanically harvested.
In addition, growers are also using more technologies to help with decision making in the greenhouse. As this is highly linked to variety selection, Syngenta is working with dedicated partners on data collection at the breeding level to support AI tools that growers will use in the future
At Syngenta, we’re dedicated to our growers and customers. Our breeding programs invest in the future of tomatoes, and we’re constantly evolving our methods to bring the best varieties forward. Stay tuned for more news from Syngenta Vegetable Seeds about TomatoVision, including open days and how to contact your sales representative for more information about varieties.