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23% of consumers to increase consumption of sustainably grown vegetable over next 3 years

23% of consumers to increase consumption of sustainably grown vegetable over next 3 years

Consumers worldwide are changing their purchasing habits and the sustainable food revolution appears to have taken off. These are the findings of the Wave X-Remix Culture report, carried out by the IPG Mediabrands Group, which surveyed 56,398 consumers from 81 countries on their consumption habits. The report also predicts that in the next three years, 23% of buyers will increase their consumption of sustainable vegetable products and 13% will increase purchases of non-fresh sustainably produced items. 

The organic market is no longer a niche. Consumers are placing greater value in socio-environmental issues, such as the use of plastics, buying local produce, or greater regulations on industrial processes. The report also highlights that consumers are uncertain of the consequences of GM foods and artificial ingredients, and are concerned about the increase in allergies, intolerances and digestive difficulties. Healthy eating concerns have driven continued growth in sales of sustainable and organic products (+8.4 pp since 2013), while lowering consumption of artificial additives and red meat (-35% in the last year).

The new consumer is looking for brands that identify with their values ​​(61% of respondents said that brands have an important social role). The new consumer is less credulous and more distrustful and critical of the information he or she receives. The new consumer does not believe all of the messages transmitted by brands and companies.

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Romanians spend largest share on food and beverages

Romanians spend largest share on food and beverages, ct. Eurostat


EU consumers spent 12.1% of their total expenditure on food and non-alcoholic beverages, amounting to over €1.047 billion (or 6.6% of EU GDP), according to Eurostat data. Food and beverages ranks as the third largest category of household expenditure after ‘housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels’ (24.0%), and ‘transport’ (13.2%). Romania is the country with the highest proportion of household expenditure on food and non-alcoholic beverages (27.8%), followed by Lithuania (20.9%) and Estonia (19.6%). The lowest proportions were recorded for the United Kingdom (7.8%), Ireland (8.7%), Luxembourg (9.1%) and Austria (9.7%).

Between 2008 and 2018, the share of total household expenditure on food decreased or remained stable in most EU Member States where 2018 data is available. The largest decrease was recorded in Lithuania (from 24.8% of total household expenditure in 2008 to 20.9% in 2018, or a fall of 3.9 percentage points), followed by Poland (-3.4 pp) and Malta (-3.0 pp). In contrast, household expenditure on food increased in 10 EU Member States where 2018 data is available. The largest increase was recorded in Czechia and Slovakia (both +1.4 pp), the Netherlands (+1.0 pp) and Hungary (+0.8 pp).

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China’s new – and healthier – eating trends

As consumption continues to grow in China, consumers are willing to pay more for foods without undesirable ingredients and are actively seeking all natural, organic foods.

As consumption continues to grow in China, consumers are willing to pay more for foods without undesirable ingredients and are actively seeking all natural, organic foods.

That’s a summary of a recent survey by Nielsen which reveals Chinese consumers are increasingly opting for specialised diets addressing their desire to eat organic, low-fat, low-carb foods or the need to eliminate ingredients based on food sensitivities, allergies or personal convictions.

In a press release, Nielsen said that about 70% of the Chinese respondents in its new Global Health and Ingredient-Sentiment Survey said they follow a diet that limits or prohibits consumption of at least some foods or ingredients, which is higher than that of global average (64%). Furthermore, 82% of them said they would pay more for foods without undesirable ingredients, also much higher than the global average (68%).  

However, consumers’ changing needs are not being fully met yet, since only 40% respondents are satisfied with the current healthy food choices.

Be an ally in the pursuit of wellness

Nielsen Greater China president Yan Xuan said this is a significant opportunity for food retailers and manufacturers but they need to “identify high-potential segments and the drivers of engagement for these consumers and, then tailor their messages and products accordingly.”

Generally speaking, Chinese consumers prefer low fat (35%), low carbohydrate (35%), low sodium (35%) and low sugar foods (23%) .

Consumers wish there were more all natural (67%), organic (55%) and genetically modified organisms free foods (52%) on shelves. The most undesired ingredients are artificial ingredients such as artificial flavors (73%), preservations (73%), colors (71%), sweeteners (58%); antibiotics or hormones in animal products (63%); and genetically modified organisms (57%).

Nielsen said most consumers choose not to purchase foods and drinks with certain ingredients because they believe it is harmful to their health. What’s more, consumers also regard some foods as natural medicines. Approximately 73% percent Chinese respondents said they actively make dietary choices to help prevent health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol or hypertension.

Transparency is also important – 77% of Chinese consumers feel more positively about companies that are transparent about where and how products were made,raised or grown (vs. 73% globally).

“The consumption upgrade that is taking place in China highlights the growing pursuit of wellness. According to our research, health, safety  and wellness have already become the top attributes that impact consumers’ purchase decisions. Price will no longer be as important as quality and healthiness,”” Xuan said.

Image: by Calvin Teo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,



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Trends driving America’s produce category

It’s an exciting time for the produce department, but Nielsen Perishables Group says many staple categories are on the wane while on-trend ones are on the rise.

The recent wave of consumer interest and demand for health and wellness products has been great for the fresh produce business in the United States.

However, winning in produce requires more than just resting on the inherent health aspects of fruit and vegetables, warns the Nielsen Perishables Group.

Director of client services Jennifer Campuzano (pictured) told ED that in the US grocery retail sector, the average produce department dollar sales CAGR from 2011 to 2015 was 3.7%. And what’s more, it’s well-positioned to continue its steady growth, “as a widely purchased department that brings higher overall basket rings than those trips that don’t include produce,” she said.

Produce is the second-largest fresh department behind meat in US supermarkets, and rang in a total of $47 billion in the US in 2015.

But while it’s an exciting time for the produce department, Campuzano emphasised that the steady growth of the department over the past few years is being driven by trendy products – those that have adapted to contemporary consumer demands, such as convenience – while many staple categories are declining.

“Additionally, organics, innovative convenience products and differentiated assortment are becoming more common outside of high-end grocery, even within value retailers.

“And although a shifting retail environment and increasingly choosy consumers can and do present challenges, they also offer exciting new avenues for growth.

“Retailers and suppliers can now embrace a variety of opportunities within the store – think product innovation, merchandising across departments for more holistic consumer solutions etc. – and outside of the store (meal and grocery delivery, partnering with local suppliers) in order to win,” Campuzano said.

Simply relying on the health benefits of produce and trusting consumers to know and understand those benefits is not enough, however, to continue to drive growth within the department, she stressed.

“In fact, traditional staple categories like whole apples and bananas had flat or declining sales in 2015 (down 4.2% and 0.6% compared to the previous year), and products like value-added fruits and vegetables and mandarins, that offer additional benefit for consumers in terms of convenience, bold flavour, and snack-ability, are driving growth.

Organic outpaces conventional in sales growth

Produce is also well-positioned to take advantage of what we call ‘21st century health concerns’, Campuzano said.

“Twentieth century health concerns were all about reducing and removing – reduced/non fat, low sodium and sugar.

Today, 21st century health and wellness concerns are more benefit focused (high protein, grains and natural heart healthy foods) and how the food is sourced. Is it organic? Local? Gmo-free? 21st century health and wellness devotees want to know where their food comes from and what it’s doing for them.

“The perceived benefits of organic produce (free of pesticides, healthier, fresher) fall in line with these “new” 21st century health priorities, and help explain why sales of organic produce grew at nearly four times the rate of conventional produce in 2015,” she said.


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Consumer Trends from edition 142 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine

consumer trends

The above edition of Consumer Trends appeared on page 6 of edition 142 of Eurofresh Distibution magazine. Read more from that edition here.
Consumer Trends is a feature of every edition of Eurofresh Distribution. If you have a new, unique and/or innovative product or service, contact us for possible listing in a future edition.


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Consumer Trends from edition 140 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine

Read about some of the latest new products and services in fresh produce.

This edition of Consumer Trends appeared on page 4 of edition 140 (Nov-Dec 2015) of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that issue online here.

Cooler every year: kohlrabi

Touted as the next ‘it’ veg, kohlrabi is as versatile as it is trendy. Time Magazine describes its texture and flavour as similar to broccoli, but said it is sweeter. Popular in its native Germany, kohlrabi can be cooked, added to soups, eaten raw in salads or as a crunchy snack, and even fermented. This brassica, which comes in white and red varieties, is becoming popular in avant-garde restaurants and now being discovered by consumers in North America and wider Europe. Suppliers will increasingly be using chefs to entice consumers to try this veg, which also has health benefits including being high fibre and in Vitamin C and other antioxidants, and low in calories.


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Consumer trends

Screenshot 2015-02-27 at 18

Tired of onion skin making a mess? 
First came the onions that are sweet and even tear–free (Evermild) and now there’s a new kid on the block. But this time the innovation is in the packaging. “Medallion sleeve pack onions” from America’s Owyhee Produce come in packs that limit mess from flaky onion skin, keeping things cleaner both in retail displays and at home.

Choose your cauliflower colour!
Ever seen green, purple or even orange cauliflower? It’s the latest food trend this year in Europe but it’s not really that new. The first “rainbow cauliflower” went on sale in 2008 and since then many improvements in taste, colour and texture have been made. For the record, the green colour is due to the presence of chlorophyll, the purple to the presence of pigments called anthocyans, and the orange comes from carotene.

Florette promotes its baby kale in the UK  
Just the thing to help you kick off your New Year’s resolutions with a January health fix. Florette has launched a campaign to promote its baby kale in the UK. Baby kale is a tender little leaf with a sweet and delicate taste that can be cooked or eaten raw in a salad. A note for ‘amateur nutritionists’: this new variety is also being is being called a superfood thanks to its antioxidants benefits. “It’s a €4.2 million opportunity for the single leaf sector,” according to Florette commercial director Sandy Sewell.

Goji berry, on top of the diets  
This fruit is “queen of the diets” in Brazil. Originally from southern Asia – China, Tibet and India – the goji berry lays claim to a long list of health benefits. Its concentration of vitamin C is as much as 50 times higher than the orange. Furthermore, the goji berry is also rich in vitamins B1, B2 and B6. As with other such food trends, it probably won’t be long before a wide assortment of juices and possibly even dairy products boast this healthy exotic fruit as an ingredient!

This article appeared on page 6 of edition 135 of Eurofresh Distribution magazine.