The Country That Produces The Most Tomatoes

What places and dishes do you think of when you think of tomatoes? Your mind may first head to the savory red sauces of Italian cuisine or perhaps to that iconic American condiment, ketchup. But you may be surprised to learn the world's top tomato producer isn't either of those nations.

According to, China grows significantly more tomatoes than any other nation, producing nearly 63 million tons of the veggie (technically, a fruit), good for more than a third of the world's tomato production. As one of the world's two largest countries by population, this makes sense, as there are a lot of mouths to feed! With this reasoning in mind, second place is also unsurprising — India, neck-and-neck with China in size. However, it produces barely 30% of China's tomato output, harvesting around 19 million tons.

Turkey comes in third place, with nearly 13 million tons, though it grows far more per person than the top two. Finally, the U.S. takes fourth place, with just under 11 million tons produced. However, U.S. tomato yields per acre are much higher than other top nations, suggesting the impressive efficiency of American farms.

No globe-trotting for most tomatoes

While much of our food has a global supply chain these days, tomatoes are generally not one of these foods. U.S. shoppers primarily buy tomatoes grown domestically or in Mexico. This is particularly true for fresh tomatoes, which are easily bruised and damaged when transported long distances, and also face the issue of spoilage. According to The University of Florida, California and Florida are the top-growing states, with California pumping out tomatoes year-round while Florida's production drops during the hot summer. That's where other states like Georgia, North Carolina, and others step in.

There are some notable exceptions to the consumption of domestic tomatoes. Home cooks who make Italian dishes are likely familiar with San Marzano canned tomatoes, prized for their flavor and texture in sauces. True San Marzano tomatoes are grown only in the Campania region of southern Italy, then canned and exported with a special symbol on the can confirming their provenance. That's how buyers can be sure they're getting the real thing, not a similar tomato grown elsewhere.

No matter where they're produced or sold, one thing is clear — the love of this juicy, sweet-savory plant goes far beyond any international border.