M&S says its new fruit hybrid is perfect for dipping in chocolate.
They may not be serving it with cream at Wimbledon just yet, but a new variety of tomato is bidding to rival soft fruit in the nation’s summer affections.
The so-called strawmato is one of the sweetest tomatoes ever developed. It has been designed to be perfect for dipping, just like a strawberry.
Growers in Lancashire have crossed tomato varieties to give the strawmato a distinctive pointed end – making it look uncannily like England’s favorites summer treat.
It has been designed in response to growing demand for ever sweeter and more varied types of tomato from British consumers. The strowmato is judged by growers to be twice as sweet as standard tomatoes.
Marks & Spencer, which has an exclusive deal to stock the strawmato, hopes that consumers will follow America, where it is now fashionable to dip sweet tomatoes in chocolate. The store also hope they will be eaten as a healthy alternative to sweet snacks.
It is also stocking an even sweeter tomato – dubbed the “ugly tomato” because of its extraordinary dark green skin and wrinkled appearance.
The strawmato is still officially “under wraps” and is not expected to go on sale until nest summer after a final round of tweaks to its taste “profile”.
Bernard Sparkes, development executive at Geest, the food company developing the strawmato, said: “We want sweetness but with a balance. If it is too sweet it can be sickly.”
Marks & Spencer fruit buyer Peter Ireland Said: “people are getting more adventurous and want to try different varieties of tomato. They want tomatoes that look unusual and exciting to put in the salad bowl. The strawberry tomato looks fantastic and it has a great taste – it can be eaten on its own or in salad.”
M&S claims to be one of the pioneers of unusual tomatoes in Britain, first selling cherry tomatoes in the Seventies. The company’s food stores stock 20 varieties of tomato, although it has slimmed down the range since its chief executive said that customers were getting too confused by too much choice. The traditional tomato now accounts for less than half the 75,000 tonnes of tomatoes grown in Britain each year.
Meanwhile, importers warn that tomatoes could be in short supply this summer because snow storms in southern Spain wreaked havoc with the country’s crop.
Spain and the Canary Islands supply almost half of Britain’s total consumption of 420,000 tonnes a year.
FEAST OF FRUITY NEW VARIETIES
“Purple Haze” carrot. A purple variety available in Sainsbury’s
Purple peppers. A sweet variety of pepper on sale at some Sainsbury’s outlets
“Kutamo”. A black variety of tomato from the Galapagos Islands, on sale at some Sainsbury’s outlets
Golden beetroot, sold by Waitrose
Round courgette. A cricket-ball sized courgette sold in Sainsbury’s
Round carrot , developed to appeal to children, sold in Waitrose
White cucumber: firm and juicy cucumber with a non-bitter skin, sold in Sainsbury’s
by Jonothan Prynn, Consumer Affairs Editor
Discuss the questions:
Is it safe to create new foods like the strawmato in a laboratory?
Environmental campaigners claim that we are creating “Frankenstein food” with dangerous long- term implications. Do you agree?
GM crops produce more food from a smaller area of land. Is it good to do this to feed more people? Or should we ban all GM food?
Do you ever read the labels on packets of food? Do you understand the information given? Do you care what is in your food?
Is it right to put pesticides or sprays on crops, or should all food be organic?
Do you ever buy organic food? Why is it more expensive than non-organic food? Would you buy it if it were cheaper?
Should we trust scientist who say that these new foods are safe?
Read the article, explain the words and phrases in bold.
Ponder on the underlined parts of the text.
First, genetic scientists worked to save crops.
Now they are engineering plants to produce human vaccines.
But they get consumers to take the medicine? BY FRED GUTERL