Hitting the Shelves: Garden Varieties -- February 2010

Factors such as public health concerns, the popping up of gardens in backyards across the nation (including the White House) and the lower portion cost of vegetable foods (relative to meat or fish) are driving the market, making vegetable-rich foods increasingly appealing to consumers. Companies can seize this opportunity by launching convenience products that help consumers obtain daily vegetable nutrition, such as vegetable-rich prepared meals, hybrid fruit and vegetable drinks. Also, boosting the vegetable content in products such as pastas, snacks and dairy foods helps. Within the vegetarian market, more elaborate products have been introduced, and these may not always explicitly market on-pack to vegetarians. Perhaps, this is done to capture a broader audience of “meat-reducers,” or consumers simply looking to eat more vegetables. New product development in this segment is moving away from classic meat substitutes, such as veggie burgers, and towards more-convenient prepared meals, with increased quality and diverse recipes. Some bright spots in this trend are products designed to offer a serving of fruits or vegetables, making it easier for consumers to meet their daily recommended intake. Companies such as Unilever, Coca-Cola and Campbell’s have launched convenient drink formats aimed to provide consumers with vegetable servings, often flavored with fruit juice.

Information in this column is from the Global New Products Database, the premier source of global product intelligence, published by Mintel International Group; 351 W. Hubbard, 8th Floor; Chicago, IL 60610; call: 312-932-0600; fax: 312-932-0474; or e-mail mhollihan@mintel.com. pf