Batista Madonia Jr., vice president of sales and operations for East Coast Brokers and Packers Inc., Mulberry, said people aren’t eating as healthfully as they should because of cost.
“People cannot afford to go and eat properly,” Madonia said. “They cannot afford to decide if they will buy a loaf of bread or a tomato. They can’t afford to buy both to make a tomato sandwich.”
Bob Spencer, vice president and sales manager of West Coast Tomato Inc., Palmetto, said he looks to the younger generation to boost demand.
“Where the real growth in that area (increasing consumption) is going to be is with the young people,” he said.
“Obviously, as people get into their middle ages, their thoughts turn to survival versus what tastes good. If we drive that age to where they make the transition from eating fast and unhealthy food because it tastes good and start them on that path in their teens, then it will drive consumption in tomatoes.”
As most teenagers and college students don’t enjoy eating a tomato as they do french fries, Spencer said they in the future may give up the fries for tomatoes at least once a week if they understand the importance of tomatoes for their long-term health.