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AU: New data reveals strong growth in fresh salads

Convenience and a desire to eat healthier food have driven a significant growth in fresh salads, according to the latest data from Harvest to Home.

The category had both the biggest growth over the past 12 months until 30 December last year, in terms of kilogram volume (11.7%) and dollars (12.5%). AUSVEG Communications Manager Shaun Lindhe says fresh salads are easy to add to meals to get an extra vegetable serving, such as using them as side dishes that do not need any added preparation.

"We’re seeing increased demand in the fresh salad sector from consumers who want to eat healthy but don’t have time for extensive meal preparation," he said. "There has been an upward trend in consumers purchasing pre-packaged, convenient, value-added fresh salad products, which certainly appears to have contributed to the increase in the value of the sector."



Harvest to Home, an initiative funded by Hort Innovation and prepared by Nielsen for the Australian vegetable, onion and sweet potato industries, using the industry's contributions from the Federal Government. The dashboard records all take-home packed and fresh grocery from all retail outlets, across the different vegetable categories.

Asian leafy vegetables were another category that had an increase in value, up 4.4 per cent on dollar sales despite 0.9 per cent decrease in volume. AUSVEG put this down to the fact that it is a high-value product, after growing in popularity from being a relatively niche product less than ten years ago.

"This means they command a higher price when compared to more staple leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach," Mr Lindhe said. "Shoppers are continuing to look for new meal ideas and novel ingredients, and Asian leafy vegetables combine novelty of flavour and textures with cooking techniques that consumers already understand, so they’re becoming an increasingly valuable produce line."

Across some of the other categories cucumbers had a 6.5 per cent increase in dollar sales and 7.1 per cent increase in volume growth and eggplant was up by 5.5 per cent in terms of dollar sales and 1.6 per cent increase in volume growth.



However, not all produce types increased in value, with zucchini, broccoli, capsicum, celery, sweet corn decreasing in terms of dollar growth but increasing in volume. Mr Lindhe says these fluctuations, which is caused by the supply and demand nature of the industry, occur from time to time and are rarely experienced in the long term.

"During the last 12 months there have been weather events that have led to both increases and decreases in product supply, which will naturally result in fluctuating prices for some commodities," he said. "This can lead some products to have increased supply, which in turn leads to lower prices for growers at the farm gate. The Australian vegetable industry is a supply and demand driven industry and as such when supply goes up, prices come down, which could explain how the increased volume of these vegetable commodities fails to coincide with an increase in dollar value."



Overall, the whole vegetable category had a 1.9 per cent dollar growth and 0.1 per cent overall at retail, which AUSVEG expects to increase even further as consumers develop more of a healthier appetite.

"The value of the Australian vegetable industry has been growing as a result of increasing domestic and international demand for fresh Australian vegetables," Mr Lindhe said. "As Australia’s population increases and consumers show higher demand for healthy vegetable products for a more healthy diet. We encourage all consumers to add more vegetables into their diets to take advantage of the great value and their many health benefits."

Harvest to Home can be accessed at www.harvesttohome.net.au


For more information:
Shaun Lindhe
AUSVEG
Phone: +61 3 9882 0277
info@ausveg.com.au

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