Vegetable Consumption Guidelines Are Creating New Innovation Opportunities

There is a new consumer trend beginning to emerge for vegetables, and some on-the-ball marketers are already finding ways to create new innovation opportunities. Veg is starting to appear in lots of different and unexpected food and drink categories.

This consumer trend is being driven by increasing awareness that we are supposed to be eating 5 portions of fruit and veg a day (or even 7 according to recommendations released earlier this year). In addition, growing concerns around sugar levels in consumers’ diets means it is recommended that these portions should be biased towards veg rather than the more sugary fruit.

However, as a nation, we aren’t very good at achieving our 5 a day target with the average UK household eating 4 portions a day, falling to just 2.9 for the poorest 10%. Two thirds of people would like to eat more healthily but there are barriers to this: cost, taste and falling cooking skills among others all have a part to play.

It’s not just smoothies that veg is appearing in. They are now commonly found in cakes (courgette and beetroot) and crisps and are beginning to be seen in yogurts.

pumpkin flavour yogurt, carrot orange and mango flavour yogurt and trylls vegetable crisps

Yes, yogurts! Although this may sound a bit odd and, so far, there have only been limited editions from Yeo Valley and The Collective in the UK, there is definite potential. In the US, Blue Hill yogurt only comes in vegetable flavours. They provide a variety of recipes so, as well as being a snack in it’s own right, their veg yogurt can be included at every meal which broadens their relevant occasions and expands their market.

tomato, carrot and beetroot flavoured yogurts from blue hill

To date we have seen two types of vegetable inclusion strategies being employed:

  • Blatantly including veg as the/a main ingredient and majoring on the great taste and nutrition e.g. Blue Hill
  • Hiding the veg taste among other, more palatable ingredients enabling consumers, especially veg haters, to feel good about including extra veg in their diet e.g. Yeo Valley Orange, Carrot and Mango yogurt

So what could happen for veg in the UK? It’s been in cake, chilli is in chocolate, so what about beetroot chocolate? Or courgette biscuits? Fruit is combined with specialty cheeses, why not vegetables? The potential list for new innovation opportunities goes on!