'Tomatoes are having a lovely renaissance' as new deep purple variety trialled in Australia

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For generations shoppers have become used to buying tomatoes that are red — so how do you feel about a tomato that has dark purple skin?

Purple tomato key points

Key points:

  • The purple-skinned Yoom tomato was developed by Swiss agribusiness, Syngenta
  • It was named after its umami flavour, a savoury taste which is said to be “very moreish”
  • The variety is being trialled in Australian greenhouses and could be available for purchase towards the end of 2021

One of the world’s biggest agricultural companies, Syngenta, has developed what it calls the Yoom tomato.

The variety is already winning plaudits, recently claiming a Fruit Logistica Innovation Award in Europe, with trials underway across the globe, including in Australia.

“It is very different and will really challenge the senses of the consumers,” said Dion Potter, the company’s Solanaceae products manager for Australia and New Zealand.

“The best way to describe it is it’s a savoury tomato to eat.”

Syngenta’s new Yoom tomatoes.

Mr Potter said Yoom tomatoes were on sale in parts of Europe and were being trialled in several greenhouses in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

“We’re trying to learn how to get the best out of this variety in Australian and New Zealand conditions,” he said.

“Trials are well underway and we’re putting the concept in front of retailers now … and I would hope, all things going well, we could have some commercially available by the end of next year.”

Tomato renaissance

Melbourne-based chef, Lynton Tapp, said the food industry was enjoying a boom in new tomato varieties, as well as some heirloom varieties making a comeback.

“In terms of food trends, tomatoes are having a lovely renaissance,” he said.

“For years, tomatoes were selectively bred and culled down until we had just the two really common types, of the cherry tomato and the truss tomato.

The world launch of Yoom tomatoes happened last year in Berlin.

Like the rest of Australia, Mr Tapp was yet to try the new Yoom variety, but said the look of it was “very striking” and he was intrigued by a tomato with an enhanced umami flavour.

“Umami is more easily described as something that is very moreish … and umami is very closely related to naturally occurring monosodium glutamate, which you find in ingredients such as seaweed and parmesan cheese,” he said.

“So it sounds to me that through selective breeding they’ve really bumped up the levels of umami, and it sounds like there’s going to be a lot of uses for this tomato.