want fries with that?
Posted by Sara Zucker on March 4, 2010 02:29 PM
February's bitter cold has put a hold on tomato deliveries from Florida to restaurants and grocery stores across America, causing prices to skyrocket. Trade group the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange recently revealed that the cost for a 25lb box of tomatoes has increased from $6.45 to $30 within the past year.
Fast food giant Wendy's, in an effort to mitigate the increased expenses, will require consumers to specifically ask for tomatoes on their sandwiches rather than receive them automatically. Wendy’s, of course, has spent significant time and money branding its renowned square burger, but consumers will have no choice but to accept – unless they make a specific request otherwise – a different looking, and tasting, product.
The fast-food chain decided that the more desirable situation was to forgo providing the tomatoes with its sandwiches if that meant offering a lesser quality tomato from a different location and grower.
Brand spokesman Denny Lynch explained, "We have standards that we want to meet on our sandwiches and that our customers expect. And for a short-term situation, we are finding very inconsistent tomatoes and some questioning about the availability of tomatoes. But we feel this is in the best interest to inform our customers that the quality of the tomatoes at this point are not necessary as good as they usually are.”
However, other popular brands have switched to using tomatoes cultivated elsewhere; for example, sandwich store franchise Subway and Florida-based Publix Super Markets will pay a higher price to ship in tomatoes from Mexico in order to provide the product to its customers.
But warmer climates aren't necessarily a remedy to the situation. Recently, Mexico has been hit by torrential downpours, and its tomato crops have sustained considerable damage.
For now though, Wendy’s customers will have to do without tomatoes. But there is good news: There’s always ketchup.