Industry-unique trends are often an indicator of how market patterns will play out. The fresh produce industry is no exception, with some of these trends constantly evolving. Many recent events have influenced these market trends, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent market trends in the industry have resonated mostly with consumers, influencing wholesalers and retailers. The pandemic has undoubtedly affected the way consumers order their fresh produce.
Consumers now make smarter choices due to a shift in focus to healthier produce choices. Many families are now habitually including more fresh produce in their daily menu. There’s also been an increase in demand for fresh produce, ahead of canned products and processed food.
With the fresh produce market constantly growing in leaps and bounds, there are certain to be changes on the demand and supply level. The market finds ways to adjust to these changes and patterns, and using an integrated ERP software like Silo helps vendors in the produce supply chain keep up.
This article takes a quick look at some of the most notable fresh produce market trends in recent years.
- The beauty benefits of produce
The fresh produce market caters to a wide variety of consumers, but recently consumers have become more interested in the beauty benefits of produce. Consumers have started to place more emphasis on how produce and associated ingredients will benefit their skin and overall appearance.
One prime example of this trend is blueberries, with demand increasing due to their many health and beauty benefits. Not only are customers consuming these in greater amounts as part of their beauty rituals, but the produce itself is being transformed into beauty products made from natural ingredients, indicating demand along the supply chain.
Additionally, produce like avocado, coconut, and pumpkin have also seen huge rises in demand.
- The willingness to pay more for better quality
Consumers are now more willing to pay premium prices for better quality produce. While the need for cosmetic perfection in produce is a problem in itself, consumers are placing considerable emphasis on the shape and state of their fruits and vegetables. An avocado that’s badly bruised is less likely to appeal to consumers.
- Pure and organic produce
Current market trends have also gone deeper than just the quality of fresh produce—consumers are placing more importance on their fresh produce being grown organically. This market trend has especially resonated with consumers, impacting wholesalers and retailers and creating a need to keep up with the demand for organically-sourced produce.
This trend has been seen in every industry as the need for more convenient ways to do things becomes a greater priority. This can be attributed in part to the increasing busyness of everyday life for many consumers as offices open up again and businesses resume their normal operations.
For example, for the dairy industry, there’s an increasing demand for single-serve refrigerated packs. Some of the most common dairy and protein products are now being taken on the go, pointing to a demand for convenience.
For the produce industry, convenience has also manifested in grab-and-go produce, with many trendy snack items now lining supermarket shelves. Pre-cut and packaged fruits and vegetables, frozen produce, and popsicles made from fresh fruit seeing increased sales are indicators of the demand for convenience.
- Higher demand for locally grown produce
Innovations in the fresh produce industry have created a huge gap between growers and consumers. Regardless, consumers are starting to prefer items that are locally-sourced from their own community.
The adoption of digital platforms in the supply chain has made it possible to better source produce, so businesses can ensure they’re trading with local producers over importing inventory.
- Online shopping
One of the most noticeable fresh produce market trends is customers using platforms to order things online.
Rather than walking into grocery stores to pick out their fresh produce, consumers have started preferring shopping from the convenience of their homes. This method of shopping for fresh produce allows consumers ample time to browse through a business’ range of available items—with the added advantage of not pushing a cart.
The fact that consumers also get to choose between several purchase methods makes this option more attractive. Shoppers can have their orders delivered to their doorstep, or choose to pick them up nearby. In a way, this trend enhances visibility for customers, who have the option to choose from various retailers at the click of a button rather than driving to different locations.
One significant downside, however, is that customers are not able to see exactly what the produce they’re ordering looks like. Shopping in person also allows customers to feel and smell various fruits and herbs, which can be a significant factor in how they choose their produce.
- Environmentally-friendly packaging
Environmental sustainability has become more of a priority as the environmental crisis worsens, with the fresh produce market being affected by it. There’s more emphasis now than ever on environmentally friendly packaging. According to Zenpack.us, the adoption of these eco-friendly solutions is not just a trend, but a fundamental shift in the industry’s approach to sustainability.
The constant threat posed by plastics to the environment and the entire ecosystem has caused consumers to now prefer having their fresh produce packaged in more eco-friendly alternatives. Supermarkets have responded to this demand, developing viable alternatives to plastic packaging.
The produce supply chain must look to respond to this increased demand for sustainability, not only to appease customers, but also operate more responsibly.