Trend forecast for 2020

10th March 2020

Being on trend. Bugs. Plastic free. Pea Milk. Plant based. Hard seltzers. CBD. Digestive wellness. West African cuisine. Filipino. Sri Lankan. Japanese. Levantine. And sandwiches. Just some of the trends forecast for 2020. Did sandwiches ever go away?

Food is never far from our minds. January every year sees news media and magazines, in print and online, joined by other food commentators predicting the trends that will change what and how we enjoy food.

Inevitably some of the predictions are just pie in the sky. Many never reach beyond the fooderati. And it seems unlikely that 2020 can be the year of West African, Filipino, Sri Lankan, Japanese and Levantine cookery.

The other challenge with trends is that any business using them to guide their product development or service offering is likely to go a little loopy as one fad disappears and the another takes its place.

At the Tomato Stall, while we keep an eye on the latest ideas, we get plenty of insight from our customers in business and shoppers at markets. Over the past couple of years two trends have been particularly prominent. Sustainability and provenance. Interest in sustainability was the top subject we discussed inside and outside our business in 2019. It has already been a dominant subject in 2020. Sustainable practice makes good business sense which is why it has been central to our tomato growing for many years.

Several of our greenhouses are over 40 years old. They are still doing a great job providing the optimum growing environment for our tomatoes. We harvest all the rainwater off the 150 acres of greenhouse roofs. We use this to water our tomato crops which need up to 1,200 litres of water per plant during the growing season. The water also keeps the greenhouses warm.

We use gas turbines to warm the water that keeps the ambient temperature at the right level in the greenhouses at night. At certain time of year the energy produced by the gas turbines provides up to 60% of the electricity supplied to grid on the Isle of Wight which provides heat and light to local homes. We pump the carbon dioxide exhaust from the gas turbines into our greenhouses where the tomato plants turn it into oxygen.

Most tomatoes grown in Northern Europe use rockwool as a growing medium. When rockwool is finished with at the end of the growing season it often goes to landfill. We use coir, the outer husk of the coconut, instead. It does the same job as rockwool and at the end of the growing season we mix it with the old tomato plants and our old pallets to make compost. This compost is then used to grow our organic tomatoes. We consider sustainability at every stage of the growing process. We don’t have all the answers, but we’re working on getting them.

Provenance is the other trend that we have noticed growing in importance; it shows no signs of lessening. We are lucky to be on the Isle of Wight. Tomatoes have been grown on the island since the late 1960’s.

The island benefits from the some of the best sunlight hours in the UK which has made it a popular holiday destination. Surrounded by water our tomatoes also benefit from the natural reflection and intense light. It is this abundance of available light that enables the plants to develop the optimum sugar levels during photo synthesis. Our location, 30 years of growing experience and speedy access to our markets means our customers receive a huge variety of tasty tomatoes grown for flavour.

So, whatever the latest on-trend country cuisine, you can be sure that if you use tomatoes grown on the Isle of Wight, they’ll have been grown in a sustainable way and they’ll taste great. They’re good in sandwiches too.

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