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The Red Israeli Snack

Published: January 19th 2011
in Economics » Israel

Cherry Tomatoes

The Israeli creative mind


Over thirty years ago, two Israelis thought how great it would be if, while watching television, people would eat healthy, nutritious snacks instead of swallowing unhealthy snacks which contain artificial colors, saturated fats and nasty preserving materials.


These guys loved tomatoes. They loved their taste and they also loved the fact that tomatoes contain fibers, vitamins, minerals and all the good things that the human body needs.


But there was a "little" problem. Tomatoes are huge, and the sight of adults holding big bowls full of tomatoes in their hands and sticking them into their small mouths seemed very idiotic and definitely not the perfect snack alternative. "Let's shrink the tomatoes", they said.


TV tomatoes


The two Israelis are Professor Nahum Keidar and Professor Haim Rabinowitz from the Rehovot Agriculture Faculty which is a branch of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They have been studying tomatoes for decades and have dedicated their lives to pioneering agricultural explorations.


Professor Keidar has been awarded five times for his contribution to science and to the agricultural research in Israel. He won the "Prize of Israel" in 2006 for his research.


Keidar and Robinowitz’s idea was to develop a healthy snack that people will eat while watching television. The two professors used several types of domestic tomatoes and with the assistance of modern technology and genetic engineering, they crossed the domestic big tomato with the small wild tomato, and so the “TV tomato” was born.


Sounds simple but it’s very complicated. They had to think about the color, the size, the shape and of course, the taste, which needed a combination of sweet and sour contrast. They also had to lengthen the shelf life of the product as it was about to be exported and needed it to be stronger and less sensitive to external changes such as temperatures, humidity etc.


Cherries and grapes


The TV tomatoes were introduced on the shelves in the early 1990s and despite their relatively higher price compared to regular tomatoes, they became a product that is a part of the basic nutrition of many homes. The name "TV tomatoes" did not last long and instead people started calling them "cherry tomatoes" or "grape tomatoes" due to the resemblance of size, shape and color of the exotic fruits.


There are a number of cherry tomato varieties sold today, the most common of which was developed in Israel and is now sold worldwide and grown in many other countries around the world. Even today, the export of seeds and tomatoes has a significant contribution to the Israeli Agricultural Industry.


Save money and be healthy


Cherry tomatoes taste really good. The sweet-sour combination is perfect and one can easily eat a pound without even noticing. It’s much healthier than eating one pound of artificial snacks that contain all those long, unpronounceable names of ingredients that our body doesn’t need.


Compare the prices of the Cherry tomatoes to the prices of snacks and you'll be surprised how much money you’re saving and how much healthier you are treating your digestive system.


For a delicious recipe which includes cherry tomatoes, click here.

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