Demand Up

Demand Up

In line with growing health awareness and changing demographics, demand for fruits and vegetables is expected to increase in the long term, according to Rabobank’s recently published “North American Food & Agribusiness Outlook.”

“With consumers increasingly preparing meals at home, overall produce sales are on the rise,” says Rabobank Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) assistant vice president Marieke de Rijke. “However, in the short term, much of the growth will depend on the economy, which may temporarily drop demand for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables in favor of cheaper alternatives, such as canned and frozen produce.”

Demographics And Convenience

The Outlook chapter, “U.S. Fruits and Vegetables — Developments in the Processed Segment,” focuses on processed fruits and vegetables. Currently, this segment continues to make up a significant share of total fruit and vegetable consumption in the U.S. It accounts for approximately 50% of total produce consumption, but shares between categories have shifted over the years. 

Some of that change occurs as the ethnic composition of U.S. consumers changes. As the U.S. population grows more ethnically diverse within the next few decades, the volume and type of fruits and vegetables consumed in the U.S. is expected to change.

Additionally, convenience continues to play a large role in fruit and vegetable demand — especially considering that the average time to prepare a meal has dropped from 49 minutes to 31 minutes over the last decade. During that same time period, the increase in the number of single-person and double-income households, in combination with the increased desire to have more spare time, has resulted in a 50% increase in convenience food purchases.

Health Perceptions 

Health concerns have also driven demand for fruits and vegetables as consumers look for healthier and more nutritious options for their diets. The fresh-cut segment has been able to profit as consumers believe fresh-cut is the healthiest format for processed fruits and vegetables. However, frozen produce contains just as many vitamins as fresh even if consumers perceive it differently. Consumption of canned vegetables and juices, on the other hand, is declining as they have a less healthy image.

Competition Concerns

Conversely, while there are a number of elements driving increased demand of fruits and vegetables, there is also competition from low-cost producing countries; significant cost increases pressuring margins; and new requirements for tracing produce.

Labor-intensive industries are increasingly facing competition from countries with low production costs. As a result, for some processed fruits and vegetables, the U.S. has seen an increase in imports. “Over the past decade, imports of frozen vegetables have increased more than 90%,” says de Rijke.

“In order to be competitive, the processed fruit and vegetable segment could focus on niche markets and market its products as ‘grown in the U.S.,’ which also fits with increased consumer interest for local products,” says de Rijke.

Increased Costs

Additionally, fruit and vegetable producers — like all producers — have been faced with increased costs. To mitigate these increases, fruit and vegetable growers and processors have started to focus on restructuring operations to gain efficiency and reduce costs. They have also looked at improving yields, but have not made significant gains to offset price increases to consumers.

While adding costs, de Rijke says, “Traceability systems could be an opportunity for the U.S. produce sector since a nationwide traceability system could be used as a marketing tool and may result in consumer preference for U.S. produce rather than imported produce for food safety reasons.”

Information for this story was provided by Rabobank.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Fruits
February 27, 2017
Warm February Concerning, But Fruit Growers Shouldn’t Panic
While maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey do show spring appears to be arriving early, Extension experts don’t expect a repeat of 2012. Read More
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Using Drones To Scout Almonds From Above
At California State University, Fresno, scientists are studying how drones can save almond growers water — and help them use less labor too. Read More
UF/IFAS researcher Cristina Pisani examines ailing avocado tree
Crop Protection
February 27, 2017
New Discovery Smells Like Victory for Florida Avocado Growers
Scientists find naturally occurring repellent that could keep disease-carrying beetles at bay. Read More
Mycelial fans armillaria root rot
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Getting to the Root of Devastating Stone Fruit Fungus
Armillaria root rot is a death sentence for trees and replant sites; however, researchers are looking to breed fungus-resistant rootstocks to make replanting economically feasible. Read More
Berries
February 26, 2017
Advantages to Growing Southern Highbush Blueberries
Growers in some regions where temperatures don’t get too low could consider the benefits of Southern highbush varieties. Read More
Grapes
February 26, 2017
Winegrowers See Total Sustainability in Their Sights
Sonoma County Winegrowers eyes 2019 to become the U.S.’s first completely sustainable wine region. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Let’s Stand Up for Science
Yes, there’s an art to agriculture, but its very definition is the science of farming, so you have a deeply rooted connection to scientists. Read More
Florida citrus grove
Citrus
February 25, 2017
Citrus Research Investments Yielding Positive Results
Despite still having mounds of wood to chop, grower, federal, and state programs collectively are making a dent. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Major Challenges to the Fruit Industry Are Closer than You Think
Don’t underestimate the need for research, as innovation is becoming an urgent necessity for our future. Read More
iphone close-up
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
New Mobile Apps for Farmers to Grow on the Go
Thanks to the latest in software technology, real-time decisions can be made with one swipe of your finger. Read More
The Latest
Fruits
February 27, 2017
Warm February Concerning, But Fruit Grow…
While maps produced by the U.S. Geological Survey do show spring appears to be arriving early, Extension experts don’t expect a repeat of 2012. Read More
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Using Drones To Scout Almonds From Above
At California State University, Fresno, scientists are studying how drones can save almond growers water — and help them use less labor too. Read More
Crop Protection
February 27, 2017
New Discovery Smells Like Victory for Fl…
Scientists find naturally occurring repellent that could keep disease-carrying beetles at bay. Read More
Nuts
February 27, 2017
Getting to the Root of Devastating Stone…
Armillaria root rot is a death sentence for trees and replant sites; however, researchers are looking to breed fungus-resistant rootstocks to make replanting economically feasible. Read More
Berries
February 26, 2017
Advantages to Growing Southern Highbush …
Growers in some regions where temperatures don’t get too low could consider the benefits of Southern highbush varieties. Read More
Grapes
February 26, 2017
Winegrowers See Total Sustainability in …
Sonoma County Winegrowers eyes 2019 to become the U.S.’s first completely sustainable wine region. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Let’s Stand Up for Science
Yes, there’s an art to agriculture, but its very definition is the science of farming, so you have a deeply rooted connection to scientists. Read More
Citrus
February 25, 2017
Citrus Research Investments Yielding Pos…
Despite still having mounds of wood to chop, grower, federal, and state programs collectively are making a dent. Read More
Fruits
February 25, 2017
Major Challenges to the Fruit Industry A…
Don’t underestimate the need for research, as innovation is becoming an urgent necessity for our future. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
New Mobile Apps for Farmers to Grow on t…
Thanks to the latest in software technology, real-time decisions can be made with one swipe of your finger. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 24, 2017
In-The-Field Learning Invaluable for Gen…
Annual tour allows Florida's future farming leaders the chance to have open and honest discussions with CEOs and managers and tap into their knowledge. Read More
Grower Achievement Award
February 24, 2017
Know a Vegetable Grower Who’s Innovative…
Then nomination him or her for American Vegetable Grower magazine’s 2017 Grower Achievement Award. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 24, 2017
Don’t Underestimate the Importance…
Trellising study helps growers understand the basics of setting up an orchard infrastructure properly. Read More
Berries
February 23, 2017
Primocane: A Major Innovation in Berry P…
I’ve witnessed the rise of primocane-fruiting blackberries, from first selections to integration in the market. Read More
Fruits
February 23, 2017
First California Ag Innovation Showcase …
University of California, Davis will be the setting for a ground-breaking conference on emerging technology for food and high-value agriculture. Read More
Disease Control
February 23, 2017
Spot Sclerotinia Before It Stops Your Ve…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this malady that goes by many names. Read More
Berries
February 22, 2017
Florida Strawberry Picking Contest a Big…
Fourth-annual fundraising event brings in more than $100,000 to benefit children of local farmworkers. Read More
Citrus
February 22, 2017
New Insecticide Available to Combat Suck…
Minecto Pro from Syngenta has received EPA approval for use in specialty and vegetable crops to control lepidopteran and other pests. Read More