Lipman Family Farms, known as a major supplier of field-grown tomatoes, is leveraging its foodservice distribution network to supply greenhouse tomatoes from NatureSweet to quick-service restaurants.
Lipman will still supply field-grown tomatoes through the partnership, also focusing the company’s Crimson variety.
“Our goal is to bring the high flavor, high color, high density characteristics of our field-grown Crimson variety to the greenhouse product we create with NatureSweet,” Lipman CEO Kent Shoemaker said in a news release. “Our foodservice customers need access to premium product on a year-round basis. They also need greenhouse and field-grown options.”
Through the year-round partnership, Lipman will ship slicer and salad tomatoes from NatureSweet to quick-service restaurants, according to the release from San Antonio-based NatureSweet. The release did not identify the restaurants.
The partnership launches in October.
NatureSweet in the release attributes demand for greenhouse tomatoes at “better burger,” quick-service and fast casual restaurant segments to changing consumer preferences for “high-quality and exceptionally tasting ingredients” in the news release.
Both companies are investing equally in the venture, according to the release, and the co-branded tomatoes will be distributed by the Immokalee, Fla.-based Lipman.
“Lipman has mastered supplying and serving very large, demanding foodservice customers, and we’ve mastered growing at scale to produce responsibly grown greenhouse tomatoes,” NatureSweet CEO Bryant Ambelang said in the release. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner as we’ll both be able to provide new value for our combined customers.”