Substituting vegetables as a base for other types of foods may encourage consumers of all ages in eating more veggies. Mintel research on US vegetable consumers shows that a quarter of Americans struggle to incorporate enough vegetables into their diets, while nearly the same number of parents with kids 18 or under say it is difficult to get their children to eat vegetables.

Some brands are stepping in to help by developing products that incorporate vegetables into formats like noodles and rice, which boast comparable nutritional content to normal vegetable forms and make for easy replacements for grains. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), about 8% of all vegetable launches from January-August 2017 are either riced, mashed or noodles/spirals, up from just 5% in 2016.

Here we spotlight a few brands who have recently launched popular vegetable substitute options in the US market:

What we think

Vegetable substitutes may be perceived as healthier than the foods they are replacing, but swap-ins for vegetables like veggie rice or noodles may be seen as lacking in taste, flavor or texture when compared with the real thing. However, some consumers may be willing to sacrifice a bit on these attributes for a simple solution to implementing more vegetables in their diet, and potentially their children’s diets. More brands are likely to jump in on this vegetable swap-in trend, but those that innovate in varieties closer in form, texture and taste to the foods they plan to be a replacement for, without diminishing the vegetables nutritional value, are likely to appeal most to consumers.

Michael is a Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, specializing in the CPG food and drink industry. He is responsible for writing monthly analysis reports providing strategic insight and consultancy across several food and drink categories.

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