Fruit for botanists, vegetable for customs, cans for traders… In under a century, the tomato has become a staple food globally. Processed in factories, packaged as a concentrated product in cans, tomatoes are consumed the world over. To tell the tale of the tomato’s universal consumption, you’d need to paint a fresco as large as the world itself. But behind the red of sauce and ketchup hides a little-known story about agro-industrial capitalism; or, in other words, the origins of globalization.
From Ugihur tomato pickers in Xinjiang, China to tomato magnates in California, from Italian manufacturers to African producers, the history of the tomato and its international division of labour is an unexpected tale that unravels the complexity of our world. This documentary paints a picture of the economics behind the ruthless, unbounded tomato production industry, and introduces viewers to the realities of the American, Italian, French and Chinese manufacturers, as well as the proletarians working the fields - African migrants in Italy and internal migrant workers in China – without whom, there would be no processed tomato market.