Cooling tomatoes at temperatures below 12 degrees Celsius, or 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit, hampers the enzymes in the fruit - they are less effective at combining volatile compounds, which are crucial for imparting the tomatoes' flavor. The taste of tomatoes is determined by the interactions of sugars, acids and a set of 15 to 20 volatile compounds.
7 Days of cold exposure reduced the levels of volatile compounds by up to 65%. The brief recovery periods after chilling failed to restore the fruits' volatiles to normal levels.
Commercial tomatoes are widely perceived by consumers as lacking flavor. A major part of that problem is a postharvest handling system that chills fruit. Low-temperature storage is widely used to slow ripening and reduce decay. However, chilling results in loss of flavor.