Hot weather caused uneven ripening in places Supply chain about to fill up for another year The Italian tomato pack is starting to come to an end: at least one major group is finishing this week and late planted varieties are not particularly plentiful or cheap. "It's not another 1996," one trader told The Grocer. The looked for bumper crop has not materialised in the way some would have liked and has a number of caveats. The first is that some product will have been commited in advance to replace high tin level stock taken back earlier this year. The second is that, even without the tin problem, not every contract was supplied in full ­ so there are two early calls on this year's pack. The pack itself was a difficult one to manage. Even though some were able to start packing early, the hot weather in August brought an enormous bulge in raw material supplies, which has now all but disappeared. Most fields in Puglia have been cleared and most packers will have filled their quota needs: however the very hot weather in August has also led to uneven ripening. "This year product will need careful grading," said an industry source, adding that a lot of tomatoes had been red on the outside but on closer inspection had a green core. Peeled plum is particularly vulnerable to this kind of uneven ripening, since it is difficult to spot in time. {{PROVISIONS }}