Tomato Processing: How to Start a Tomato Processing Company

The economic value of tomatoes is of great importance to a country’s GDP. Tomato manufacturing companies are a huge employer of labor.
The employment covers machine operators, cleaners, sales clerks and transport workers. The effect translates down to the farmers via demand and supply.
Tomatoes are massively eaten raw in meals or processed into various items. Tomatoes are processed into spices, purees, pastes and dried products.
The products are popular and manufacturers make huge profit because of the demand. The product due to its abundance attracts cheap competitive prices.
 The processed products are found in soups, stews and various dishes. Common products made from tomatoes are tomato sauce, puree, pulp, juice and ketchup.
Manufacturing companies package their products in cans, nylons, bottles, drums and glass. The packaging is vacuum sealed and sterilized for longer shelf life of the products.
To start a small scale tomato processing company you need to choose a niche. Focus on a single item and slowly grow your inventory. Luckily the machines used in the processing of tomato can handle multiple product types.
Popularity of the tomato product depends on the type of concentrate, taste and acceptability. Entrepreneurs should invest in product development, packaging, and branding.
During the developmental stages the product goes through sampling, testing and standardization.  Although the market is hugely there is room for small business and large manufacturers.
 The production process of various tomato products is simple and easy to learn. The size and scope of your business depends on the type of machinery, space and functionality.
Things to consider when starting a processing plant are funding, equipment, factory space and trained staff. Here are a few tomato processing business ideas for small businesses.
Common Tomato Products
Ketchup is produced with ingredients such as pepper, spices, sugar, salt and ripe tomatoes.  To produce ketchup you need to wash, cut, trim and steam ripe tomato. Then apply heat to achieve a soft consistency.
Tomato Juice
To produce tomato juice it goes through a pulping machine to separates the skin and seed. It is then heated to obtain the juice, bottled or canned. Tomato juice is further processed to get tomato paste or pulp.
Other common products obtained from tomatoes are puree and tomato sauce. The different products need to pass mandatory provisions such as solid content. 
How to Start a Small Tomato Processing Business
Financing the Tomato Processing Plant
The capacity of your plant and units produced per day is of considerable importance. You need capital to purchase machinery and startup capital.
The money is needed for fix and working assets. Secure loans from finance institutions such as commercial or merchant banks. You can sell startup equity in the business or find a core investor.
Locating the Tomato Plant
There are two ideal locations for your tomato processing plant. The first is locating your business close to the source of raw materials or within a large market. Both locations have there own advantages and disadvantages.
The major challenge is transporting the raw tomatoes to your factory or distributing the finished goods. Others are availability of cheap labor, good road network and utilities.
Write a Business Plan
Write a business plan for your tomato processing business. Then conduct a feasibility study to identify a good location and source of raw material. The report should focus on market potential and demand in your immediate community.
Register the Tomato Processing Company
Register your tomato processing company as a limited liability entity. Then obtain a trade license and insurance cover.
Then apply for a value added tax identification number. Your product needs to go through standardization and certification. Find out other local or state permits and licenses applicable to your area.
Tomato Processing Machinery
Once you have leased an ideal factory or warehouse you need to install the machinery. The type of machinery depends on brand and functionality.
Equipment used in manufacturing tomato products includes extractors, vacuum machine, pasteurizer tank and separators. Others are weight scales, canning equipment, pulper cap and others.
Marketing the Tomato Product
Consumption of tomato products is huge and there is a ready market. The products face stiff competition from established brands names.
The only way small manufacturers could penetrate the market is through high quality products. You need to develop a product that meets people’s expectation.
Tomato paste has a huge domestic and international market opening export opportunities. The product needs good packaging, a recognized name and meets quality control standards.
The packaging should be unique, attractive and easily identified. There are different types of packaging such as can, nylon or bottle containers.
Manufacturers use lots of promotions and advertisement to reach potential customers. Advertise in newspapers, magazines and electronic media.
Offer discounts, better pricing, bundle sales and competitions. Hire commission sales agents to push your brand to different markets.
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