Israel’s Harmoniz is leveraging technology to provide tomatoes with superior flavor and freshness

Israeli greenhouse seeds developer Harmoniz is using cutting-edge molecular biology and breeding technologies to bring tomatoes with superior flavor, long-lasting freshness, and high resistance to viruses to the world’s supermarkets.

Harmoniz recently made its debut after concluding the merger of TomaTech, a seed breeding company, and Nirit Seeds, developers of hybrid vegetable seeds. The company is based in Israel and has breeding and marketing operations in Spain, Italy, Holland, the UK, Greece, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, and Morocco.

The merger of TomaTech and Nirit generated business momentum which resulted in the expansion of Harominz’s team, which now consists of more than 80 people worldwide, including molecular biologists, breeders, and agronomists. Additionally, the company has been expanding its operations in Israel with the extension of its logistical center and headquarters in Kibbutz Kfar Menahem.

Research shows that only 12% of the population consumed the recommended five or more portions of fruit and vegetables daily in 2019. Furthermore, the daily consumption of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables differed widely among EU member states.

For example, around 3 in 10 people in Ireland (32.9%) and the Netherlands (29.5%) consumed at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, compared with less than 6% in Austria, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Romania. One of the reasons many people cite for their lack of tomato consumption is the poor taste of the produce.

Harmoniz serves both retailers and growers by understanding their unique needs. For retailers, it developed a product with long-lasting freshness, which is available 52 weeks in a year every day of the week, while allowing growers to produce more value from their seeds. This includes high yield and superior taste, color, texture, and plant resilience.

To this end, Harmoniz has succeeded in identifying the DNA markers that elicit resistance to the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV). The virus has been causing havoc on tomato plantations globally since 2014. It has affected a broad spectrum of tomatoes, from sweet cherry lines to full-sized beefsteak varieties. Outbreaks have overwhelmed greenhouses across North America, Europe, and the Middle East and are spreading to other regions.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Harmoniz breeds tomato varieties for both heated and non-heated greenhouses, resulting in a uniform product, available year-round. The improved post-harvest freshness allows the produce to transit to markets and arrive in excellent condition, eliminating food waste.

Ofer Ben Zvi, CEO of Harmoniz, noted, “Our mission is clear: to develop and sell vegetables that people love to consume, and farmers love to grow, while maintaining innovation, creativity, and a focus on the consumer at the end of the supply chain. We provide harmonies of flavors, technology, and innovation to consistently deliver a superior eating experience.”

“At a time when consumers experience shortages in the supply of vegetables in countries such as the UK, our work to make the vegetable supply chain function as effectively as possible, becomes even more relevant and important,” Ben Zvi concluded.

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