( File photo )

The reasons behind gains in per capita consumption growth of fresh tomatoes over the past 40 years are analyzed in a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The study also predicts continued sustained growth for the tomato category. 

Called “Unpacking the Growth in Per Capita Availability of Fresh Market Tomatoes,” the report notes that fresh tomato per capita consumption rose from about 12 pounds in the early 1980s to an average of 20.7 pounds in 2010-2017.

“Growing imports, changing consumer demographics and tastes, and emerging production technology are among the major factors shaping the demand for and supply of fresh market tomatoes,” the report said. “Current trends favor continued expansion and provide momentum for sustained growth in the fresh market tomato sector.”

The research paper includes chapters on domestic tomato production, organic output, expanding greenhouse acreage, import growth, the tomato suspension agreement, tomato export trends and future consumption gains.