Asda leads the way in technological innovation for tomatoes, which will see British tomatoes available all-year-round. Just over 200 million tomatoes are plucked from the LED-laden vines for Asda each year*
Customers can enjoy British tomatoes at Asda all-year-round thanks to innovative light technology, which is tipped to set the precedent for produce across the nation in the next decade. Typically, between December and March, retailer’s source tomatoes from Spain or Morocco, but this new technology will lead to thousands more tonnes of tomatoes grown on British soil every year, reducing food miles and ensuring optimum freshness on shelf.
The light technology is currently being used by a farmer in Southport across 31 acres of glasshouses growing tomatoes. Installed between the vines and coloured bright pink, the LED lighting supplements natural daylight so that crops can be grown efficiently at all times of the year, no matter what the weather.
In addition to ensuring British tomatoes can be stocked every month, the LED technology helps reduce the total energy required to run the greenhouse by up to 35% through mitigating the need for excessive heating and ventilation, meaning the tomato growing process remains environmentally friendly.
Andy Roe, Tomato Production Manager, who has supplied Asda with tomatoes for over 20 years, comments: “I can say with confidence that by using this technology, I could grow a tomato absolutely anywhere – underground, in a Tube carriage, on the Moon. The beauty of this technology is that it hands complete control over to the growers, who can monitor levels and adjust accordingly to ensure the best quality products possible are hitting Asda’s shelves. Whilst we may be the first UK growers to work with the technology, this is the way forward for horticulturalists across the globe.”
Each year, Andy and his team of growers pick just over 200 million tomatoes.
Ian Harrison, Asda Technical Director, comments: “We pride ourselves on working closely with growers to make sure together we provide the best quality produce possible for our customers. Beyond the benefits to UK growers, this forward-thinking technology means not a single ounce of quality, taste or appearance is diminished in our tomatoes. This year alone, we’ve seen 40 million punnets of tomatoes sold from our shelves.”
Asda stocks 11 different varieties of British tomato, including Extra Special Aromatico, to its award-winning Extra Special Tomkin.