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How to Start a Tomato Processing Business & Make Money

Any individual can start a tomato processing business from home or on a small scale. Tomato is one of the most popular vegetables globally. And people consume tomatoes in both raw and processed form. Basically, the tomato is a perishable item. Therefore, the processing enhances the shelf life of the product.

The business is easy to start. Additionally, you can deal with single or multiple value-added item productions.

The scientific name of the tomato is Lycopersicum Esculentum. And it belongs to the family Solanaceae. Additionally, tomato ranks second after potato in the world. The major tomato-growing countries are China, the USA, Italy, Turkey, India, and Egypt.

Americans consume three-fourths of their tomatoes in processed form. U.S. consumption of processed tomatoes began a steady climb that accelerated in the late 1980s with the rising popularity of pizza, pasta, and salsa. Additionally, exports are becoming an important component of the U.S. tomato-processing industry. By itself, California leads the world in the production of processing tomatoes.

Is Tomato Processing Business Profitable?

Basically, tomato processing includes different types of value-added product manufacturing. These are tomato juice, puree, sauce, ketchup, and tomato pulp. Basically, tomato juice and pulp have industrial use along with domestic consumption.

Due to increasing standards of living in the cities and the rapid urbanization in rural areas, the demand for ready-to-eat items is also growing. Additionally, the changing food habits including the growing fast food industry have created a boost in the demand for processed tomato items.

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Another aspect is modern packaging technology. Basically, the Multi-layer- Flexible plastic packaging, Tetrapack, and Brick packing have a tremendous impact on the growth of the processed tomato market. This type of packaging allows the distribution of tomato products to wide, distant, and remote areas. In addition, it allows storing the products at room temperature for a period of more than 4 months.

5-Step Tomato Processing Business Plan

In starting the business, you must have a business plan in your hand. Basically, crafting a business plan starts with market research. According to your location, it is important to have some clear ideas about the demand for specific items.

Additionally, try to identify the established companies in this segment and their products. If you are starting with small start-up capital, it is advisable to start with a single product manufacturing operation.

1. Registration & Licensing

You must register your business as per Federal law. Choose the right form of your business according to the ownership and investment pattern. It is advisable to consult with a small business expert to understand the permission and licensing issues.

In addition, identify the upcoming tax and compliance liabilities for your business.

2. Tomato Processing Plant & Machinery

For the manufacturing operation, you must secure a location. However, the requirement of the area depends on several aspects. These are a production line, production capacity, and the number of finished products.

Talk to the machinery suppliers. And have a machinery floor plan from them. In addition, check the available utilities like electricity, water, and skilled manpower for the factory operation.

Basically, the machinery requirement depends on the specific product you want to produce. However, here we have compiled a basic list of machinery for your ready reference.

  • Steam boiler
  • Washing machine (Rotary rod, Washer equipped with spray arrangement, collection tank, etc.)
  • S.S. tilting type steam jacketed kettle of cap
  • S.S. tilting type steam jacketed Vacuum kettle of cap
  • Pulper cap.
  • Exhaust and processing tank
  • Pasteuriser tank
  • Bottle washing machine
  • Vacuum filling machine
  • Water storage tank cap (HDPE)
  • Misc. equipment such as buckets, cutting, and peeling knives, etc.
  • Weighing balance
  • Crown cork machine
  • Weighing Scales platform
  • Working Tables
  • Laboratory Equipment
  • Pollution Control Equipment

3. Raw Materials

It is needless to say the major required raw material is a full-grown tomato. And you must make an arrangement for the regular availability of the raw tomato at your factory.

You can have a contract with the tomato growers also. Additionally, you will need to arrange sugar, preservatives, salts, and spices for different types of products.

Read: How to Start Cashew Nuts Processing Business

4. Tomato Juice Processing

First of all, you have to procure fully ripe well-developed color tomatoes for making juice. Then, wash the tomatoes.

After trimming and steaming, crush them in a crusher or cut them into pieces with knives. Then heat the crushed pieces in the steam-jacketed kettle till they become quite soft.

Finally, pass the heated tomatoes through the pulping machine using a fine-mesh sieve to separate the juice from the seeds and the skin. Keep heating to 85-90ºC and add the sugar and salt @ 1%. Finally, fill the hot juice in bottles, seal them immediately and sterilize them in boiling water for about 30 minutes, and cool them.

a) Tomato Ketchup Processing

Basically, the percentage of the soluble solids in the ketchup varies from state to state. Therefore, you must check the local norms and regulations.

The juice obtained as above is concentrated with spices, salt, sugar, etc. The spices like cloves, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, and other ingredients, etc. are tied loosely in a muslin cloth and placed in boiling juice in a steam Jacketed Kettle. The sugar, salt, vinegar or acetic acid, etc. are added later on.

b) Tomato Paste & Pulp Processing

To prepare tomato paste and pulp, the juice is further concentrated under a vacuum to around 9% to 12% solids. Also, you can prepare tomato powder using different technologies depending on the end use of the product. Additionally, you can source the tomato processing technology from any reputed Government research institutes.

c) Tomato Puree Processing

First of all, obtain the juice obtained as above. Then, concentrate it under a vacuum to about 9% to 12% total solids so as to get tomato puree. Finally, fill the product in bottles. Seal the bottles with crown cork and process in boiling water for 30 min. and cool.

d) Tomato Processing For Sauce

For preparing the sauce, you will need to concentrate the juice under a vacuum and controlled temperature. In addition, you have to add salt, sugar, vinegar, spices, onion, etc as per requirement.

Then, boil this mixture under vacuum till it contains a minimum of 12% tomato solids and 28% total solids. Then pass the sauce through a sieve to remove fibrous and other materials. Finally, cool the material and add the preservative prior to sending it for packing.

5. Promotion & Marketing

Promotion and marketing are the musts to get overall success in this business. Additionally, you must pay attention to the packaging. First of all, try to hit the local consumers. And a well-penetrated distribution channel is the best option to capture the local retail market.

Additionally, supermarkets and malls are great places to promote your product. If you are starting tomato processing on a large scale, you can consider exporting also.