Jun 11, 2018Wendy’s commits to vine-ripened, greenhouse-grown tomatoes
Wendy’s June 5 announced plans to source vine-ripened tomatoes for its North American restaurants exclusively from greenhouse farms by early 2019.
Tomatoes for Wendy’s will be grown in indoor greenhouse and hydroponic farms from approximately a dozen suppliers throughout North America, including the West Coast, Pacific Northwest, Southeast and Great Lakes regions of the United States; Eastern and Western Canada; and Mexico, according to a news release from the company. Nearly all tomatoes will be sourced from the United States and Canada, giving Wendy’s customers the benefit of fresh, great-tasting tomatoes from sources that match the brand’s North American restaurant footprint.
“Greenhouse farms provide supply predictability and quality assurance benefits—including continuity of supply; protection of crops from harsh weather; safe, indoor growing conditions; and a significant reduction of chemical pesticides used on the plants,” said Dennis Hecker, senior vice president of quality assurance for Wendy’s.
Wendy’s also believes that greenhouse growing will support local economies by sustaining the agricultural workforce with fresh produce that can be grown year-round in comfortable, indoor environments, according to the news release. It will also bring economic opportunities to regions that previously have been unable to support year-round agriculture production due to geography and climate.
Expected benefits include the significant reduction of chemical pesticide use, including replacing pesticides with natural integrated pest management practices such as ladybugs; water and land use benefits; safe, indoor working conditions and economic benefits to regions where the greenhouses are located.
Vine-ripened tomatoes are usually defined as those picked when showing the first signs of changing color, and then shipped. They are distinguished from tomatoes that are picked and shipped while unripe and latter ripened in warming rooms or with ethylene gas, which acts as a natural plant hormone.
Wendy’s said it has begun transitioning to the new tomatoes. Vine-ripened, greenhouse-grown tomatoes will be available at Wendy’s in the U.S. and Canada between now and early 2019.