Example – temporal markets for fresh tomatoes

Generic product activity or name

North American tomatoes.

Context and background
Tomatoes can be grown in different locations to provide a supply that meets demand over the entire year. The supplies from different regions therefore sometimes compete and sometimes do not.

In this example we study the North American market which has a strong seasonality of supply and which included both field grown tomatoes and tomatoes from greenhouse/hydroponic operations.

Presentation of example
The supplying regions for the North American market can be seen in the figure. Each time there is a break, there is a new market situation in terms of suppliers. This means that we have at least the following six temporal markets: January/February, March/April, May, June, July, August/September, October/November and December. Note that May and June and July and August/September have mostly the same suppliers, so that these separate periods may be seen together depending on your actual products.

Figure: North America greenhouse tomato and fresh field tomato shipping seasons by region, re-drawn from Cook & Calvin 2005. Please refer to original source for details and explanations.

For tomatoes from protected culture, the production technology in terms of energy requirements will also vary depending on the timing of the crops, so that a more detailed modelling, down to the level of 14 day periods may be relevant.

Since each producer has 2-5 harvests on one crop, there will be temporal by-products, where each by-product supplies a separate market. In a detailed planning model, the expected supply from each producing region may even be mapped in more detail, down to weekly supplies.

Information sources used 
While there are many LCAs of tomatoes, few of these have dealt with the temporal aspects. For this example, only the market data from USDA Economic Research Service was used.

Cook R and Calvin L (2005). Greenhouse Tomatoes Change the Dynamics of the North American Fresh Tomato Industry. Economic Research Service/USDA no 2, April 2005:
http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/307225/err2_1_.pdf (accessed 7. April 2015).

Author of this example
Bo Weidema


How to reference this
Weidema B P (2014), Example –temporal markets for fresh tomatoes. Version: 2015-04-10 www.consequential-lca.org