Sweetpotato doughnuts, candy floss ice-cream with beetroot colouring, and capsicum-infused gel to tone up your abs – these are just some of the thousands of unusual vegetable products making their way to supermarket shelves every month.
With food manufacturers increasingly thinking of novel ways to attract consumers, vegetable peak industry body, Ausveg, believes that Australian growers have an excellent opportunity to find new ways of getting their produce from paddock to plate.
“Vegetables are versatile ingredients with a range of uses, from boosting the nutrition and flavour of a meal to adding a shot of colour to a product,” said Andrew White, deputy CEO, Ausveg.
“While there are products where you’d expect to get a serving of vegetables, like beetroot crisps and vegetarian dumplings, we’re also seeing companies using vegetables in unconventional ways and offering options like purple sweetpotato Kit Kats and pumpkin parfait,” said White.
“These innovative products show that getting vegetables into your diet doesn’t just mean having a pile of chopped veggies on the side of your dinner plate – there is a range of exciting choices to increase your vegetable consumption.”
While Australian shoppers may not be seeing vegetable-flavoured chocolate on their shelves any time soon, Ausveg is encouraging Australian vegetable growers to think outside the box and explore new ways to develop innovative products to create new markets for their vegetables.
“We know that there’s a significant trend of Australians snacking between meals, and there are great opportunities in this area for vegetable products,” said White.
“As well as the proven favourites like vegetable crisps or pre-cut vegetables, we’ve also seen innovative product launches in Australia, such as freeze-dried beetroot and sweetpotato and cinnamon yoghurt.”
“Australian growers produce the best-quality vegetables in the world, and by bringing the flavour and nutrition of these delicious veggies to other food products, the industry has a chance to expand the way Australian consumers think about when and how they get vegetables into their diet.”