A taste for convenience could be changing the way Australians shop for vegetables, according to industry body Ausveg, with new research finding that consumers are increasingly buying vegetables in formats that suit their immediate needs with little left over.
The latest Project Harvest report, released by consumer research group, Colmar Brunton, has found that an increase in sales of small pre-packaged vegetables and individual vegetables over the last eight months has been matched by a drop in larger pre-packaged formats.
“Many consumers are mindful of not wanting to buy more vegetables than they’re going to use, and we’re seeing this in the latest research,” said Ausveg spokesperson, Kurt Hermann.
“These findings really reflect the fact that some Australians are treating supermarkets like extensions of their own fridges,” said Hermann.
“When they go vegetable shopping, these consumers are only planning a couple of meals ahead, because they’ll return in a night or two. This means that they’re looking for portion sizes that they can grab, use immediately and have nothing left over.
“In some cases this leads them to buying loose leaves, or convenient formats like salad trays and small pre-packaged bags. In other cases, it means they’re only looking to buy one or two broccoli heads or chillies instead of a full tray.”
The report has also identified that wanting to avoid waste is preventing many consumers from buying more fresh vegetables, including staples like peas and broccoli. It’s a particular concern around lettuce purchases, with nearly 40 per cent of shoppers saying they don’t buy more lettuce because they don’t want to waste any.
The amount of consumers buying individual lettuce leaves has more than doubled since March this year, and now constitutes a full quarter of shoppers. Meanwhile, the amount of consumers buying large pre-packaged bags of lettuce leaves has dropped by more than a third since November last year.
“Australian growers could capitalise on this trend by offering consumer-driven products, like pre-packing fresh vegetables in single-meal servings, either by themselves or mixed together,” said Hermann.
“By offering vegetables to shoppers in easy-to-enjoy formats, the vegetable industry could help Australians make healthy diet choices and increase overall vegetable consumption.”