Quality, Taste … The French Disappointed with Tomatoes and Melons

The quality and taste of tomatoes are far from satisfactory in the eyes of the French

In a survey published Tuesday 13th August 2019, the association CLCV looked into the quality of tomatoes and melons sold in France. And there is progress to be made.

Of tomatoes as bland a green salad. Of melons bitter and chalky … This summer, some fruit among the most consumed in France are far from unanimous among consumers.

This is what a study conducted on Tuesday 13th August 2019 by the association CLCV (Consumption, housing, living environment) on the quality, taste and price of a typology of tomatoes (clusters) and a variety of melon (Charentais).

The fruits, which have been blindly tested by 900 people throughout France, are sold in three distribution channels: hard-discount, hyper / supermarkets, specialty stores (Grand Frais, primeurs …). Organic stores, markets and direct sales were not taken into account.

The results of this survey are clear: 66% of respondents are not satisfied with the overall quality of tomatoes and three quarters (75%) are not satisfied by taste. It is a little better for the melon: 48% of the French deplore the overall quality of the fruit and 56% do not like its taste.

Appearance and resistance to the detriment of taste

What explains why we are mostly disappointed by what we have on our plate? “There is not the same explanation for both fruits, with highlights of actu.fr Lisa Faulet, mission diet CLCV and author of the study. Melons have been hit by poor weather conditions in the spring, making them less sweet and less tasty. ”

As for tomatoes, disillusion is not new. For several years, the consumer association notes a disappointing satisfaction rate.

“The selection of varieties, operated over twenty years, could explain the decline in quality: at the expense of taste, some producers favor resistance, good appearance and good conservation.”

Prices are not a guarantee of quality

Depending on where the products were purchased, the results are not the same, and are sometimes surprising. Thus, the hyper / supermarkets concentrate the worst notes. If they offer the cheapest tomatoes for the analyzed distribution channels, this is not the case for melons: they are sold for 1.60 euro in the hard discount, against 2.50 euros in the supermarket and 2, 30 in specialized store.

The CLCV notes that consumers can not always rely on price as an assurance of better quality, and that, in general, the prices charged are often far too high given the product.

A survey conducted online by the association shows that people who buy mostly their fruits and vegetables in large and medium-sized areas are overall unsatisfied (16%). On the other hand, markets, organic stores and direct sales perform much better.

Focus on local and seasonal products

The CLCV advocates that taste criteria be defined in the regulations. “Today, for tomatoes, the European regulation requires only calibre criteria, visual and maturity, but nothing on the taste quality continues Lisa Faulet.

“We could consider a standard as it exists for Label Rouge melons, setting a minimum sugar level of 10%, even though this rate seems insufficient. “

The CLCV also recommends a return to older varieties, which may be kept for a shorter time but retain their flavour.

The consumer also has his role to play by giving priority to local sectors. They are more respectful of the seasonality of fruits and vegetables and thus avoid longer transport times which contribute to their degradation, “unlike tomatoes produced in full winter in Spain”.

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