tomato superfood

Cooked Tomatoes. Your Menus Perfect SUPER Food.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Tomatoes

  There is a lot more to the food that we eat than just flavor. Today’s consumers seek healthy benefits from their menu ingredients. While ingredients such as kale and quinoa trade flavor for healthy benefits, the amazing tomato is universally loved and often overlooked super food.

A 2019 Datassential report found that tomato-based “red sauce” is menued in 60% of all foodservice operations and is an essential ingredient for everything from pasta and pizza to enchilada sauce.

While your red sauce is likely a menu mainstay, don’t overlook the fact that it’s also a superfood. That’s because when you heat the humble tomato magic happens!

Heating tomatoes for 30 minutes boosts the levels of absorbable lycopene by 35%. The study found that it raised the total power of the disease-fighting antioxidant by 62%.

According to a landmark study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, heating tomatoes for 30 minutes at 190.4° F (the temperature of soup simmering on the stove) boosted the levels of absorbable lycopene. The Lycopene antioxidant gives red tomatoes their rosy color.  The study found that heating tomatoes raised the total power of the disease-fighting antioxidant[BR1] by 62 percent. Tomatoes also contain other antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, that help fight cell damage that can cause cancer, heart disease and other chronic health conditions.

Cooked tomatoes contain a good dose of vitamin C, and the cooking process doesn’t destroy this important nutrient. A 1-cup serving of cooked tomatoes supplies 18.4 milligrams of vitamin C, which is about 20 percent of a person’s daily needs. A 1-cup serving of cooked tomatoes provides 1.07 milligrams of iron, which is about 12% of what men need each day and 5% for women. The same serving contains small amounts of calcium for strong bones, potassium for a healthy heart and vitamin A for proper eye function. Marinara, pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce, salsa and ketchup share in these healthy benefits.

The same can be said for the hearty flavor of a premium tomato juice. Whether as a beverage or as an ingredient tomato juice should be on your list. Just one cup of tomato juice covers the daily needs for vitamin C and is 22% of the vitamin A requirements in the form of alpha and beta carotenoids. Its high lycopene content, naturally found in tomatoes, helps enhance the skin’s natural defense against free radicals.

Datassential surveyed consumers and foodservice operators alike in 2019 and found that 21% of consumers are eating more “red sauce” at home and that 25% of operators are buying more red sauce for their menus. Thus, the love affair between America taste buds for cooked tomatoes and their health benefits continues to grow. Is it time for you to add more cooked tomatoes to your menu?

In a recent report by Datassential, 90% of consumers say that what they eat and drink plays directly into their sense of “well-being”. The attribute of being a good source of vitamins and minerals ranks highest, ahead of “all natural”. So, within today’s functional foods movement, few items offer more reasons for consumption than tomato juice.

Smart operators are strengthening their position as serving better-for-you menus by adding mentions of tomato juice as part of their menu descriptions. They are also listing tomato juice as one of the functional foods that are part of their operation’s ingredient list.

Adding richness to soups, stews, salsas and pasta sauces are only a few applications. Top chefs also add tomato juice as a base for sauces for meatballs and meatloaf, seafoods and to add flare to rice.

Whether your segment is healthcare, senior living or a commercial restaurant, your operation will benefit by leveraging the functional benefits of red sauces and tomato juice as an ingredient to boost your position as a purveyor of superfoods.