Tomato is one of the most sought after vegetables by consumers all over the world. Though there are many technologies that can preserve tomato in some form or the other, the preference is still for fresh brightly colored material for which no price is considered too high. While tomato chunks in brine, puree and paste in aseptic packs, dehydrated chunks, etc are still being used extensively in food preparations requiring tomato solids for flavor, fresh salad products need firm and ripe tomato slices which can be available only during the season. With the advent of greenhouse technology which has ensured production of some fresh vegetables year round, tomato seems to have gained an advantage and providing vine-ripened tomato to the users all 365 days an year is a practical reality to day.
"Those tough pink ones are still good and cheap enough for most fast food restaurants and the food service industry, which buy about half the fresh tomatoes sold in the United States. But with shoppers willing to pay a premium — even $4 to $5 a pound — for red vine-ripened ones with more flavor, greenhouse tomatoes now represent more than half of every dollar spent on fresh tomatoes in American supermarkets, according to figures from the Perishables Group, a market research firm in Chicago".
Vine-ripened tomato, considered the best by many consumers, can be produced only through greenhouse technology as the conditions for ripening can be simulated inside the artificial chambers once the crop matures to facilitate the biological process involved in ripening. That consumers are willing to pay a premium price for such visually attractive products gives the growers the much needed incentive to continuously innovate for going up in the value addition chain. How far such vine-ripened, greenhouse grown tomatoes deviate from naturally grown counter parts in the open is not very clear at present.