Cuba: The 1-ton tomato in the living room - The Packer

Cuba: The 1-ton tomato in the living room

09/07/2012 09:33:00 AM
Fred Wilkinson

Speaking as a panelist during the market opportunities workshop, de Shouwer gave some background on the evolution of the U.S. tomato market:


  • Around 40% of fresh tomatoes sold at retail in the U.S. are now greenhouse, compared with negligible amounts in the early 1990s.
  • Mexico’s protected horticulture over the past six years grew by 248%, compared to Canadian production expansion of 28% and U.S. expansion of 17%.
  • Greenhouse tomatoes now account for around 20% of U.S. fresh tomato supply.


In particular, de Shouwer mentioned a development on the horizon that might be the 1-ton tomato in the living room.

Before Fidel Castro took over, Cuba was a key tomato supplier to the U.S., with the industry only taking root in Florida when trade stopped between the U.S. and Cuba.

Castro is 86. His baby brother Raul — 81 years of age — has been in charge since 2006. Neither has a lot of shelf life left.

When the Castro era sunsets, business between the U.S. and Cuba may well resume, and another player may re-enter the already competitive U.S. tomato market.

What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.

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Nogales Az  |  September, 07, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Fred Great job profiling growers perceptions, yet shy on details, very subtle, but I can't tell you the other attributes that some of us go through. (sarcasm) Cuba, should be the driver for many ideas that aren't real yet, Cuba & Future are a synonym; Depending on how we approach this or not will decide how that future will become a present.

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