Conflicting reports regarding the Italian tomato crop are causing concern among UK importers who are anxious to conclude contracts.

In the south, only 35% of the forecast pack has been completed when compared with the same time last year.

There is a question mark over the quality of the plum peeled variety but the round, used for chopped, is more resilient to the changeable weather of earlier this year.

Sorting is also allowing for extra costs as the percentage of yellow fruit is abnormally high. In spite of this, as long as good weather holds over the next three weeks, the total pack, although two weeks late, should be reasonable, at 5 million tonnes, just below last year’s 5.2 million.