Local produce edging out organic in importance among consumers

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Published on March 21st, 2012

Chicago (March 21, 2012) – It seems like just yesterday natural/organic was the hot ticket, but local is quickly becoming a consumer favorite, as locally-sourced products are becoming more popular at grocery stores and restaurants alike. According to recent Mintel research, the same is true in the fruit and vegetable industry with more than half (52%) of consumers reporting that it’s more important to buy local produce than organic options.

Data from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) supports this statement, as fruit products with a natural/organic claim have declined 58% between 2008 and 2011, while vegetable product launches with that claim have decreased by 77% during the same time period.

“Natural and organic produce items aren’t completely passe, but local varieties are steadily gaining ground,”says John N. Frank, category manager, CPG food and drink reports at Mintel.”Interestingly enough, senior citizens are even more likely to believe that buying local produce is more important than organic.”

While it’s true that consumers have their preferences when it comes to the type of fruits and veggies they consume, they still aren’t eating the recommended daily amounts. Fourteen percent of Americans don’t eat any servings of fruit on a typical day and 7% report the same of their vegetable eating habits. Meanwhile, 69% agree that they should eat more fruits and veggies than they currently consume.

“Consumers may respond well to a marketing message touting the idea that eating vegetables is a healthier way to get important vitamins than taking a pill,”suggests John Frank.”Some 81% of respondents agree with that statement. Another effective marketing message could be ways to make meal salads with vegetables, as 59% of respondents say they eat salads as a meal at least once a week.”

Furthermore, giving vegetable preparation ideas could also go a long way in increasing produce consumption. It may be lack of ideas that leads 37% to say the fresh vegetables they buy often go bad before they have a chance to eat them, and 27% who say they would eat more vegetables if they knew how to prepare them.