Tomatoes evoke powerful associations with health, and consumers consider them the star ingredient in the Mediterranean Diet. That’s just a taste of what the carotenoid experts at Lycored (Secaucus, NJ) learned when they surveyed 329 consumers as to which five fruits and vegetables on a list of 14 they most associate with health.
In the top spot, with 77% of respondents giving them the nod, were green leafy vegetables. Following close behind with an endorsement from 74% of respondents were tomatoes, which bested onions, garlic and leeks (54%), citrus fruits (54%) and cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli (50%) in consumer opinion. In fact, 52% of respondents placed tomatoes among the five fruit and vegetables they would be most likely to describe as a “superfood.”
When asked which fruits and vegetables they linked most with the Mediterranean diet, fully 91% of the survey respondents named tomatoes, ahead of peppers at 81%, onions, garlic and leeks at 76% and citrus fruits at 65%.
Even the visual representation of tomatoes calls to mind the Mediterranean diet, for when shown one image depicting tomatoes, olives, and olive oil, and another of olives, olive oil, fish, and nuts, 87% of respondents connected the tomato image to the diet, while only 13% did so with the image including fish and nuts.
As the innovator and supplier of its proprietary Lyc-O-Mato tomato complex—which includes lycopene as well as other key tomato nutrients—Lycored has an interest in gauging consumer attitudes toward the fruit. Noted Zev Ziegler, head of health marketing, Lycored, in a press release: “Our research confirms both the wellness appeal of tomatoes and their status as the star of the Mediterranean Diet. This powerful association with one of the biggest dietary trends of our times boosts their potential in products for health-conscious consumers. Given their popularity with supplement users, and their wide range of health benefits, tomatoes deserve to feature in health products much more than they currently do.”