Top Seeds International introduces its Tomachoc® brand, a line of versatile chocolate-coloured tomatoes with original shapes and a hint of umami.
Tomachoc® is the consumer brand of Top Seeds International, the global vegetable seed company that specialises in the development, production and distribution of innovative, high-quality hybrid varieties. The Tomachoc® range consists of five categories of tomatoes, all of which feature an attractive chocolate colour and an elegant, balanced flavour, ranging from tart to sweet, with a signature hint of umami. Available in different shapes and calibres, Tomachoc® can be enjoyed alone as a snack or in salads and its unusual colour makes it a big hit in traditional dishes.
Tomachoc® is the result of crossing and hybridisation of ancient black tomato varieties originating from the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine, which were spread abroad in the 19th century by Ukrainian soldiers carrying the seeds. Chocolate tomatoes are known for their unique sensory characteristics: a high content of anthocyanins, natural plant-based pigments that give the tomatoes their dark colour, belonging to the class of flavonoids and characterised by strong antioxidant properties; a higher average content of vitamin C than other tomato varieties and potassium, which has a beneficial effect on blood pressure. They also have a high Brix level, which can reach up to 10 degrees, indicating a good sweetness: the Brix level is an index measuring the solute content in the juice and is often used to denote the sweetness of the fruit.
The following Tomachoc® tomatoes are available on the market:
- Plum choc tomato: an oval tomato weighing between 80-110 grams, derived from the Cordobesa variety. It comes in clusters of 6-8 fruits with a very uniform calibre, high consistency and extended shelf life. The distinctive and innovative shape, which differs from the cylindrical shape commonly found on the market, has an intense green colour tending to black when ripe and a high lycopene content. Perfect for salads, it has a pronounced umami taste and a 5/6 degree Brix.
- Mini-plum choc tomato: like Plum choc, it features an elongated oval shape, but has a miniature calibre of 30-35 grams depending on the variety. The range includes: TOP Zohar, one of the best-known, is a striped tomato with an intense green colour and an attractive dark red flesh, ideal as a daily snack. It is distinguished by its sweet, refreshing flavour, which contains nutritional elements such as lycopene and antioxidants; TOP Lotz is an oval tomato with green stripes that is slightly rounder and has a different cultivation cycle. Featuring an intense sweet taste, it has many nutritional properties; finally, TOP 2400, the slightly larger variety. A tomato with a tasty character, well balanced between sweetness and acidity, a unique flavour noticeable from the first bite. This healthy tomato is excellent served fresh.
- Snack choc tomato: the smallest of the oval-shaped Tomachoc® tomatoes, it is intended as a snack due to its 18-20 gram calibre, which derives from the TOP Tiana Featuring a rich, bright dark colour, it has an unmistakable flavour between sweet and salty. It is a healthy snack that adds a touch of colour to your dishes. Thanks to its good leaf coverage and attractive shape and size, it maintains a dark, mottled colour even in high heat and radiation conditions. 10.6-11 degree Brix.
The range is completed by two round tomatoes:
- Round choc tomato: a tomato derived from two well-established varieties that have been cultivated for many years: Shir, with a calibre of 80-100 grams and Quinto, with a calibre of 70-100 grams. It is a round choc tomato characterized by its intense brown colour with dark green shades and a flavour with a slight hint of umami. Packed with health benefits, it is recommended for consumption both fresh and cooked.
- Cherry choc: a cherry tomato derived from the TOP Zmira variety, characterised by a small calibre of 25-30 grams. The peel is mottled with dark green and red and has a high content of lycopene and carotenoids, as well as excellent organoleptic properties. Juicy and crispy, with a high Brix level, it is ideal as a snack.
In Italy Tomachoc® tomatoes are grown in Sicily and Lazio. The favourable weather this winter resulted in a high-quality harvest for the whole range and a successful reception among the public in the target markets: primarily in Italy, but also in Northern Europe and, increasingly, in the Middle East.
“There has been a lot of commercial interest in the Tomachoc® variety,” comments Fabrizio Iurato, Product Developer & Sales Representative at TSI Italia, a commercial subsidiary of Top Seeds International. “On the one hand, the attractive appearance often impresses young retailers who want to offer their customers an original product, people who care about healthy nutrition and new products on the market. On the other hand, the medium crunchiness of the Tomachoc® range allows for a longer shelf life, which is important for the retail sector because it reduces waste.” Moreover, varieties are selected for the uniformity of the fruit calibre to ensure that there is no calibre-related waste during processing in the pre-marketing stage.
In Spain, where there is a very discerning market for chocolate tomatoes, these products are sold by the main cooperatives that specialise in flavoured tomatoes, which, in addition to their experience, have very strict planning that guarantees high quality. “To obtain fruit with outstanding sensory characteristics and an excellent flavour, distinguished by their crunchiness and high Brix level, great attention must be paid to water conductivity, as well as temperature and humidity fluctuations,” explained Victor Romero, Sales Specialist at Top Seeds Iberica.
Tomachoc® is receiving a lot of attention from international markets, partly thanks to its extensive marketing activities that have led to the creation of the new brand website and communication with consumers via the Instagram page, and also as a result of its participation in the last edition of the Global Tomato Congress, the international event dedicated to tomatoes. During the event, which was entirely online this year, Tomachoc® had the most visited virtual stand at the fair. “Our team was on hand all day to answer visitors’ numerous questions. We are very satisfied, especially in view of the global challenges of the pandemic,” commented Ofir Elasar, Sales & Marketing Vice-President at Top Seeds International.