The fresh produce market is rapidly changing. Consumer’s priorities and tastes in fruits and vegetables are evolving, and retailers and growers need to adapt. Behind these claims is FRUIT LOGISTICA, the global fresh produce trade show, who released their 2019 trend report for the fresh produce business.

Surprises in store,” produced in conjunction with consultancy firm Oliver Wyman, goes deep into the industry’s latest trends – and offers recommendations to retailers and farmers – based on surveys of almost 7,000 consumers from Europe and North America.

1. Demand for easy-healthy produce rises

Do you have little time to cook, but still want to eat healthy? Then welcome to a club of 45% of consumers who feel the same way. Nowadays, people are short on time, but don’t want to resort to unhealthy, processed meals. Thus, the demand for fresh produce that is healthy, ready-to-cook (cut and peeled), and conveniently packaged, is growing.

This may even lead to higher demand for fruit and vegetable varieties that are more convenient – such as Bimi/Tenderstem broccoli.

2. Environmentally-conscious consumption keeps growing

There are more and more consumers that care about the environmental impact of produce and its packaging, as well as the dedication demonstrated by retailers to these matters.

In fact, retailers’ commitment to sustainability is, for some consumers (particularly those with higher incomes) an important factor when it comes to choosing a store.

Even more important is the produce itself. Customers are turning to “foods with lower environmental impact from sustainable sources, locally produced, grown in season,” the report adds.

As for packaging, consumers regard the plastic kind as a major issue – 87% of respondents claimed to worry about its impact on the environment. However, only 50% said they would pay more for biodegradable packaging.

3. Produce differentiation and quality are increasingly important

When buying fresh produce, 59% of people value quality the most, FRUIT LOGISTICA’s survey found. Specifically, consumers care the most about appearance, taste, size, and shape.

Differentiation is not far behind quality – more and more people (in particular, urban, high-income, younger consumers) value produce that is locally grown, seasonal, or that has a strong, distinctive brand that conveys trust.

If retailers want to bet on differentiation, FRUIT LOGISTICA says, they need to collaborate with growers more than they currently do. That’s the only way to innovate and deliver new products quickly to these demanding consumers.

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