30th November. Posted in Blog.

This November, many people have taken part in the 30 Day Vegan Pledge as part of World Vegan Month. For those involved it will soon be time to reflect on what their participation means to them; and how giving up meat for 30 days may change their diet indefinitely. With this in mind, we decided to explore the rise in vegetables and the opportunities for brand owners and retailers in line with changing consumer diet preferences.

Already a step ahead of the market, Parkside offers innovative packaging solutions to meet growing consumer demand for novel fruit and vegetable packaging. For example, Parkscribe Steam™, a revolutionary microwaveable steam bag for frozen vegetables. This is just one example of how novel packaging can make the everyday consumption of vegetables more convenient for consumers.

And here’s why further new product development is important in today’s market…

A whopping 3.75 million tonnes of vegetables were bought in the UK in 2015, a rate that is expected to increase as we move towards 2020.  The growing consumption of fruit and vegetables can mainly be attributed to growing consumer interest in health and wellbeing, which in turn, has led to an increased adoption of vegan and vegetarian diets.

The vegan society has found that 542,000 people in Britain are now following a plant-based diet – a phenomenal 360 per cent rise in the last decade. Not to mention the number of vegetarians, a figure which is currently twice that of vegans. When combined, these sectors represent a total of 1.68 million people or 3.25% of the UK population.

It doesn’t stop there. On a global scale, three in every ten consumers now class themselves as ‘flexitarians’. Flexitarians are considered ‘flexible vegetarians’ who consciously limit the amount of meat, fish and poultry they consume for a variety of reasons, including health, financial constraints and ethical beliefs.

This flexible attitude towards eating meat is likely to create changes in the consumption needs of consumers. This is an exciting innovation opportunity for the food industry, and one that brand owners, retailers and manufacturers must embrace to stay ahead of future consumer and market trends. By 2050, food experts predict that plant proteins will have replaced three-quarters of animal products consumed today.

The change in diet is not only evident in the UK. Mintel has found that 32 per cent of French, 23 per cent of German, 40 per cent of Italian, and 46 per cent of Spanish consumers are limiting their meat consumption. These consumption trends – that promote a healthier and sustainable lifestyle – require protein in alternative forms such as fruit, vegetables, beans and nuts. Food and packaging manufacturers must now recognise this as a positive opportunity for innovation and diversify their offer accordingly.

The increased popularity of the adoption of a vegan lifestyle is also causing retailers and manufacturers to respond. The Co-op, for example, has expanded its product range and introduced vegan and cruelty-free logos to satisfy the needs of the fast-growing consumer segment and improve its customers’ shopping experience.

Organic is also a key sub-trend seen within the fresh fruit and vegetable market, as consumers look for organic and naturally produced options that align with their ethical stance. The global market for organic fruit and vegetables is expected to reach $62.97 billion by 2020, with Asia-Pacific expected to experience the fastest growth. Growing awareness amongst consumers relating to food safety and portion control is expected to drive the organic fresh food market.

We’re now seeing more vegetables used as key ingredients in food and drink than ever before; from pasta to yogurt and from snacks to health drinks. Value-added convenience products such as fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, which can be consumed as snacks or cook ready solutions, are also set to grow. There has never been a better time for brand owners and retailers to collaborate with converters to explore exciting new product development opportunities.

For more information on the range of innovative packaging solutions that Parkside has to offer visit the products page.