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3 8 Store Brands / December 2015 / www.storebrands.info ossessing a plethora of health-giving, energy-boosting, youth-prolonging benefits, fruit and vegetables are in great demand. Most of the category's enviable sales growth is in the fresh segment, however. Fresh fruit accounts for 91 percent of the $47 billion fruit market. Fresh vegetables account for nearly 88 percent of the $44 billion vegetable market. Sales figures come from global market research firm Mintel in two reports, the August "Fruit — US" report and the June "Vegetables — US" publication. Sales of shelf-stable fruits (canned, jarred and dried), meanwhile, have fallen 8 percent since 2010, according to the report. Frozen fruit is another story. Although it is the smallest segment overall, sales have increased 27 per- cent since 2013, and the segment posted an average annual growth rate of 14.7 percent from 2011 to 2015. Lagging sales of non-fresh (frozen, canned and other shelf-stable) vegetables also illustrate just how successful the fresh food movement has become, Mintel reports. Fresh vegetable sales shot up 20.1 percent from 2010 to 2015, while the non- fresh segment grew at barely a tenth of that pace. Mintel expects those trends to continue as well. Trends with traction Convenience remains vital to consumers, particularly time-starved parents and millennials, the Mintel reports point out. Companies that are succeeding in the fast-growing frozen fruit segment are the ones catering to consumers seeking easy smoothie options, Mintel reports. Some of these product offerings contain vegetables as well. Trends on the horizon Retailers need to aggressively adapt to consumer demands for ingredient simplicity and minimal processing in the non-fresh fruit segment, Mintel warns. Effective non-fresh fruit labeling could calm consumer concerns about food safety and elevate the brand at the same time. Marketing and product positioning, meanwhile, could help boost the non-fresh vegetable segment by touting the products' health benefits, addressing food safety concerns and promoting the convenience of such products, Mintel says. "Today's vegetable buyer is attuned to nutrition and health when thinking about vegetables. Many buyers say they want to know more about the nutritional differences between fresh, frozen, and canned/jarred products. With educational marketing on labels and websites, companies could do much more to reassure consumers and supplement their nutritional beliefs," Mintel says. Mature consumers, including baby boomers, are a core part of the vegetable-buying market, not just because they are responsible for spending more than half of all food dollars, but because they comprise the demographic most likely to buy vegetables, according to Mintel. Many consumers worry about food safety and genetic modification and say they eat vegetables to avoid chronic disease, the report states. Retailers could reassure consumers with educational marketing on labels and via websites. For convenience, year-round availability and reduced preparation time, shelf-stable vegetables have a clear advantage over fresh, yet more could be done to promote this advantage, Mintel says. "The perception of convenience is likely there already, but marketers must sell this feature. Packaging innovation (e.g., aseptic, glass) and fresh- chilled recreations of shelf-stable offerings may be the best bet to giving consumers a fresh way of looking at these products," Mintel says. — D. Cvetan Freshen up The non-fresh fruit and vegetable segment needs punched-up labeling, marketing and minimal processing to compete. frozen and canned fruiT and vegeTables