Do you prefer to buy fresh or frozen vegetables?
LONG gone are the days where we only had one option in how our vegetables were packaged and sold to us.
Now, we have the choice between locally grown produce at markets, fruit and vegetables from all over the world available at the supermarkets, plus the vegetables washed, cut and frozen ready to cook in the microwave.
Horticulture Innovation Australia has released a report showing the latest trend in consumer choices when buying vegetables.
The trend toward convenience is continuing to take hold in the fresh produce sector, with new research showing that having vegetables washed and cleaned ready for use is one of the three most important factors for Australian shoppers.
The data, taken from the latest Project Harvest report commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia, shows that 41 per cent of consumers consider it important to see on-pack claims that their fresh vegetables are washed and cleaned ready for use.
Australian consumers were also found to value packaging claims that stated vegetable products were "fresher for longer” and "Australian grown”.
"There are many Australians who want to buy fresh vegetables that are quick, easy and convenient, and the Australian vegetable industry is working hard to increase its range of product formats that satisfy these needs,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Jarrod Strauch.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia's vegetable and potato growers.
"Helping consumers easily incorporate vegetables into their meals is a key aspect of increasing overall vegetable consumption in Australia, and industry is always looking for novel and innovative ways of making vegetable products that appeal to shoppers,” said Mr Strauch.
"In particular, pre-prepared and pre-packaged product formats - such as celery sticks that have been cut and washed already, or bags of washed mixed salad - are becoming increasingly common.”
Consumers are also interested in maximising the longevity of their fresh vegetable purchases, with 42 per cent of those surveyed saying that claims about their vegetables staying "fresher for longer” are important for them to see on-pack.
"Australians are mindful about food wastage, and for fresh vegetable consumers, this often translates to wanting to be sure that their purchases are going to be fresh and able to be used in multiple meals,” said Mr Strauch.
"While previous research has shown that consumers' expectations of vegetable shelf-life are almost always met, this interest in packaging claims about freshness shows that it continues to be a major driver behind Australian shopping habits.”