Offer More Variety

Nowadays, consumers are eating more fruit and vegetables. This trend is driven by the perception that fruit and vegetables are good sources of nutrients and are healthful alternatives to processed foods, global market researcher Mintel states in its October “Fruit and Vegetables — US” report. While consumers are trending toward fresh produce, the spike in fresh fruit and vegetable pricing this year has many less affluent consumers concerned and looking for other ways to incorporate fruit and vegetables within their diet.

Trends with traction

Frozen products, in particular, are increasingly seen as healthful as Americans begin to associate words such as “natural” and “fresh” with frozen processed foods, reports Euromonitor International, Chicago, in its January “Frozen Processed Food in the US” report. Emphasis on new technologies that allow manufacturers to freeze food at the height of freshness will continue to attract the American public’s attention.

Additionally, as manufacturers try to appeal to increasingly health-conscious Americans, they are using more attractive packaging. In fact, frozen food packaging tends to be the sleekest and most diverse, Euromonitor reports. This trend is likely to continue, as it allows manufacturers to charge a higher price for the product.

Trends on the horizon

Almost 40 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Mintel reported that they buy fruit and vegetables for specific vitamins and nutrients, and nearly 25 percent said they buy them to reduce their risk of chronic disease. Specifically, respondents aged 65 and older are looking to consume nutritious foods that will aid them in warding off age-related health conditions. Looking to the future, retailers might want to consider calling out specific vitamins and nutrients on product packaging to make it easier for consumers to identify which products meet their dietary needs.

According to Mintel, 45 percent of surveyed consumers reported eating a wider variety of fruit and vegetables than ever before. Additionally, 18 percent of respondents said they wish there were more unique varieties of fruit and vegetables, and 17 percent say they would buy more types of fruit and vegetables if they were taught how to prepare them. Retailers potentially could boost sales by offering customers not only exotic frozen and canned fruit and vegetables, but also preparation and recipe ideas on the package or at the shelf.

Additionally, about 20 percent of respondents say that they are trying to get more protein from plant sources, Mintel says. Retailers could highlight the protein content of certain legumes that are high in protein and inform consumers about how they provide better nutrition than other protein sources such as red meat.