Food companies worldwide are delivering new products which are changing the way consumers think about vegetables, according to a new Project Harvest report, prompting suggestions that the Australian industry could reap rewards by following suit.
The report, undertaken by consumer research agency, Colmar Brunton, has identified thousands of new vegetable products released around the world, including innovations like green tea-flavoured pumpkin seeds in China, and energy-boosting vegetable juice in Japan.
Industry body, Ausveg, says that the Australian vegetable industry could achieve significant productivity and profitability benefits by adopting these consumer-driven ways of thinking about product development.
“With research showing that Australians aren’t getting their recommended daily serves of vegetables, our industry has a huge opportunity to develop new ways of presenting produce to shoppers and increase consumption,” said Kurt Hermann, spokesperson, Ausveg.
“We know that at the most basic level, consumers are looking for more convenience, so pre-preparing vegetables by washing and chopping them is a simple way to add value to products on the shelf.”
“But by going beyond that, and offering shoppers new products which can reframe how they think about vegetables as part of their diet, the industry could make a big difference to the overall health of Australians.”
Many of the products highlighted in the latest Project Harvest report position vegetables as a snacking option for consumers, such as cauliflower chips launched in India and a carrot-flavoured rice snack from China.
“Previous Project Harvest research has suggested that there’s an opening in the market for the Australian vegetable industry to create healthy snacking options,” said Hermann.
“By presenting consumers with new products that lead them beyond seeing veggies as a side with dinner or a salad for lunch, the industry has a chance to increase its value and have a bigger impact on consumers.”
“A number of projects funded by the National Vegetable Levy are researching product innovation, as well as how international innovation can be applied in the Australian market, and we recommend Australian vegetable growers take advantage of this investment to increase their own productivity.”