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The Fresh Report: Fresh-cut veggies

SHUTTERSTOCK/Maria Uspenskaya

New and innovative products aim to satisfy consumer’s ongoing demand for fresh and easy-to-prepare meals throughout the day. Jacob Shafer, senior marketing and communications specialist for Mann Packing, provides some insights into today’s trends driving the fresh-cut veggie segment.

How are fresh-cut veggies performing in Canadian supermarkets and what are the category trends?
The fresh-cut vegetable category is performing well with the addition of more and more new and innovative products like Mann’s fresh Veggie Noodles & Rice. The noodle products feature unique, chef-inspired cuts that work perfectly as a pasta-swap. The rice products are made from a variety of colourful vegetables and are a convenient alternative to traditional rice, with fewer calories and carbs per serving. The development of the new line speaks to increased consumer demand for vegetables that can easily be used in place of a traditional carb.

What are some of the latest innovations in fresh-cuts and how do these new products meet consumer needs?
Available in the U.S. early next year and hopefully in Canada the following year, Nourish Bowls® Breakfast is the newest addition to the award-winning line of warm, veggie-based meals. There are two delicious new flavours: Denver Scramble and Fiesta Scramble. Just add 1-2 eggs, microwave for 4 minutes and enjoy. With 330 calories or less and up to 25 grams of protein, these new bowls bring to the breakfast table all the convenience, nutrition and freshness
of Mann’s other Nourish Bowl® brand offerings.We aimed to capitalize not only on the success of the Nourish Bowls® product line, but also on the massive growth of the breakfast meal occasion. A 2017 Technomic consumer trends report on breakfast found that 83% of foodservice operators have increased breakfast hours in the past 3 years and that 93% of Americans think that breakfast is the most important meal but only 44% eat it daily.

How do you address environmental concerns about processing and packaging?
Virtually all packaged convenience vegetables in the retail market are sold in bags, some with gussets, zippers, or other attributes. This minimizes packaging waste, which is a key social responsibility initiative with Mann’s. This also reduces cost to the retailer and the consumer and saves space in refrigerators. All of our corrugate and plastic packaging is recycled.

What can retailers do to encourage better sales of fresh-cut produce?
Retailers can create healthy destination categories in their stores; a place where consumers can conveniently find fresh vegetables, snacking trays, and specialty vegetables. Destination categories help consumers find new and innovative products. Retailers can expand shelf offerings of high demand cut veg items and should understand the data and the trends driving the category and take advantage of all selling opportunities.

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