…Even though Americans are concerned about obesity, the stand-alone marketing of a “healthy benefit” to mainstream consumers isn’t enough to increase consumption of fresh vegetables — evident by the overall flat consumption rate of fresh vegetables in recent years. T
What's needed, says the report, is for produce firms to put more emphasis on creating value-added products that are not only healthy, but also easy to prepare.
“As grower-shipper processors look to increase sales of fresh vegetables, we believe the solution really lies with the concept of healthy convenience,” says the report’s author, Karen Halliburton Barber, assistant vice president and senior agricultural analyst for FAR. “The idea is to give consumers the best of both worlds: the healthfulness of fresh vegetables and the convenience of processed foods.”
The report references a recent argument posed by the New York Times, stating that fresh, unprocessed, so-called "real food" is no more expensive than processed "junk food." Rather, the deterrent from healthy food eating among mainstream consumers has been the inconvenience of time it takes to prepare the food.
Grower-shipper processors should invest in more product differentiation, including producing vegetables with naturally enhanced micronutrient content and bolder flavors, the report says.
It also suggests that processors offer more ethnic vegetables and flavorings and cater to local and regional appeal.
Photo by Kyle May.