“We chose Gusto – even without a trial!”
Tholen – The Gusto tomato stands out among the specialty varieties not only because of its larger size. “It is a beef tomato with a high Brix value and a fresh, spicy flavor that you do not expect in a tomato of this size,” said Paul Stoffels.
Stoffels has big plans for Gusto: “Our objective is to create a European brand out of Gusto. Meanwhile, we have retailers in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia who are enthusiastic about the product. We also have good, ongoing cooperation with a number of trading companies who would like to participate in the project. In 2016, we are working in order to open the UK market, while also aiming to strengthen our position in Scandinavia”.
The Small, Specialty Tomato Market is Saturated
In 2015, Paul and Petra began growing Gusto tomatoes. “Hazera company suggested this variety to us in the summer of 2014. We had, for some time, been looking for a bigger tomato with a strong, aromatic taste. The market is currently saturated with small, tasty specialty tomatoes. There are more and more small cherry varieties, one sweeter than the other. We thought that the time was ripe for something else. The snack tomatoes had the tendency to shift good taste out of the kitchen. With Gusto, we strive to bring excellent taste back to the kitchen. Not overly sweet, but a tomato for preparing delicious dishes that create a sense of holiday every day”.
We decided to go for it
Paul: “We were overwhelmed by the flavor of this tomato. After our first experience in Hazera’s demonstration greenhouses, we immediately decided to do something with this variety, even without asking for a trial period. It seemed not to be very easy to grow. We did indeed pay a “learning fee” over the past year. Taste and high yields rarely go together. Paul says that finding customers was easier. The market was ready for this new flavor tomato. Several retailers at home and abroad joined us and jumped aboard on this first adventurous ride. In 2015, we packaged Gusto based on co-branding, and placed it in stores.”
In order to introduce Gusto to the market using a distinctive approach, Stoffels and Hazera entered into a partnership. “To our knowledge, there is no large tomato available that has the same flavor traits as Gusto. We hope to maintain this advantage a little longer”. Gusto has a deep red color, a distinctive, and a slightly corrugated shape with a multilocular structure filled with a green gel. “This gel contributes to the unique aromatic flavor of Gusto, and makes the tomato look fantastic inside and outside. Everyone who tastes it appreciates its magnificent flavor, and this then leads to repeated buying by consumers in stores offering Gusto. We receive many wonderful reactions from consumers”. One example is Christine Masser, from the Belgian village of Burcht, who wrote the following on the Gusto website: “Bought Gusto at Carrefour in Burcht: The best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten in Belgium, very different from the usual tomatoes we are stuck with, that taste like water. It must be said: congratulations!”
“In 2015 Gusto we planted fields of over 4 hectares, and this year we have doubled the area. We now have illuminated cultivation. Because of this, and our collaboration with contract growers, Gusto is now available all year round”. Gusto is sold in different packages. “There is a Gusto packaging of four units and six units. It is also available in a box of 2.5 kilos, and we have two packages of three kilos, tailored for the retail sector. The variety is also sold under the name Gourmato, another brand name of Stoffels’, in several co-branding packages”.
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Author: Gertrude Snoei, agf.nl. Jan 26th 2016.