The new report Fresh Produce: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities from research firm Packaged Facts offers six key opportunities for growth in the U.S. market for fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Rockville, Md.-based firm says consumption of fresh produce great 1.3% from 2011 to 2016, and “moderate” annual growth is expected to continue.

“Fruits and vegetables are expected to continue experiencing growth in niche areas as consumers persist in seeking out novel flavors from around the world,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, in a news release. “Increases in disposable personal income will support purchases of premium fruits and vegetables, including non-GMO, organic and locally grown types.”

Sprinkle also says marketing strategies focused on health and taste will help expand appeal of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Six key trends to watch:

Online Grocery & Delivery 

Millennials and families with small children have busy schedules and often do not have time to plan and shop for healthful meals. Online grocery shopping appeals to this demographic on convenience, and allows consumers to receive produce without needing to go to the store, the release said.

“Produce benefits greatly from online ordering because consumers are increasingly seeking healthy foods, and with the added convenience, they are likely able to purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables,” Sprinkle says.

 

Meal Kit Convenience 

Meal kits appeal mostly to Millennial and Gen X, especially single people and men, allowing “busy consumers to cook and eat healthy meals incorporating produce, while perfect portion sizes lead to less food waste for single people, who might find many produce options at the grocery store too large for their needs.”

 

Community Supported Agriculture & Farmers Markets

CSAs are expanding across the country, the report says, and consumers are continuing to seek locally grown produce and support local commerce. “Direct sales to community members are beneficial to both farmers and buyers, as farmers can have better financial security through sharing the risks of potential bad crops, while buyers can have fresher produce with more variety than might be available in grocery stores, sometimes at a lower cost without middlemen,” Sprinkle says.

 

Diet & Superfood claims

“Trendy” diets such as paleo and raw food emphasize healthful benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, and as healthy eaters get older they have more age-related health concerns. Baby Boomers are a key demographic, the report says, for fresh produce purchases.

 

Exotic Flavors

Millennials are adventurous, the report says, and seek out new flavors like hot chili peppers. Chili pepper consumption grew 5% annually between 2011 and 2016, the report says, spurred by “super-hot” peppers and “pepper challenges.”

 

Flexitarians 

Meat-eating consumers are increasingly identifying as “flexitarians,” who can be persuaded to eat more vegetarian meals or less meat overall, which the report says will likely increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.

More information is available from Packaged Facts.  

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