Fresh Cut Fruits and Vegetables Market Fueled by Convenience

The fresh-cut fruit and vegetable category is being fueled by convenience and the new Dietary Guidelines.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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Fruit fans differ from veggie lovers

Vegetable lovers favor spicy foods, drink wine with their meals and cook elaborate dishes for friends, according to a study of 770 people at the Food Psychology Lab, University of Illinois. Sweet-toothed fruit fans plump for desserts, entertain fewer guests and are less adventurous in the kitchen. From their responses, people tended to fall into one of two categories: fruit or vegetable lovers.

Ready Pac Microwave Spinach or Microwave Leafy Greens Blend from Ready Pac Produce, Irwindale, Calif., are available in the produce aisle. You just turn up the heat when you get home. They cook in just 3 minutes in the microwave, right in their own bags!

Another convenience product is Ready Pac Party Bowl Salad Blends, family-sized 14.5 oz. ready to serve bowl salads. Packaged in resealable clear plastic bowls that make it easy for consumers to "drop, dress and serve" from the same container at meal time, the blends are available in two varieties: Baby Spinach Blend, a combination of baby leaf spinach, shredded carrots and shredded red cabbage; and Spring Mix Blend, mixed baby greens topped with chopped vegetables.

Ready Pac also introduced protein-added Bistro To Go bowl salads available in five varieties including: Chicken Caesar, Chef, Spring Mix Veggie, Spinach Bacon, and Greek. Its Tanimura & Antle brand offers some interesting salad options including Caesar, Caesar Lite, sweet sesame Oriental, or Santa Fe Ranch salad. And for the kids, Cool Cuts, which carry the official Warner Brothers logo, as well as artwork of favorite Looney Tunes characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the Tasmanian Devil for great kids’ appeal, are available in 6.75-oz., three-pack varieties including Cool Cuts Carrots with Ranch Dip, Cool Cuts Celery with Ranch Dip, and Cool Cuts Celery with Peanut Butter.

Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Produce Co.'s fresh-cut fruit options include a variety of convenient, fresh-cut tasty delights. Cantaloupe and honeydew, watermelon, multi-colored fruit medleys, tart citrus salad, orange slices and grapefruit slices, and mango chunks and kiwi slices are all there to tempt you.

Brand new to the category from Newman’s Own Organics, Aptos, Calif., is a line of organic packaged salads in several varieties including Organic Baby Spring Mix, Spinach, Organic Baby Romaine, and Organic Baby Arugula in 5-oz. bags and Organic Chopped Romaine and Organic Italian Salad in 9-oz. bags. All they need now is organic versions of Newman’s Own salad dressings t go with them.

Mona Doyle, publisher of The Shopper Report, finds shoppers are showing interest in increasing their overall produce consumption and continue to be wowed by the time and work savings offered by pre-cut fruits, vegetables and salad greens. Asked if they would use more pre-cuts, twice as many shoppers expect to use more than they did before. One of the other findings that emerged from the shoppers’ comments is the overlap between heavy users of pre-cuts and heavy users of frozen and canned vegetables. Just as fusion cuisine is mixing ethnic foods and flavors in the same dishes and meals, Doyle found consumers are fusing their pre-cuts and frozens in the same dishes and meals.

Cut, pre-packaged produce also means cooking convenience regardless of the entree you’re preparing.
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