Despite soaring food prices, demand remains high for value-added produce—everything from sheet pan-ready vegetables for roasting to fruit-and-herb cocktail mixes to individually wrapped orange slices for kids’ soccer games.
Pre-cut fruits and vegetables made up 14.4% of total fresh product sales in 2021, according to FMI—the Food Industry Association. And nearly half of shoppers surveyed by the association said they frequently purchase convenience-focused produce. More than a quarter (27%) of consumers said they intend to purchase more value-added produce in the future, FMI found.
Value-added fruits and vegetables are a nearly $11 billion business, with sales just under 5% of total produce sales, according to data from Chicago-based market research firm IRI OmniMarket Integrated Fresh for the 52-week period ended Oct. 2. Sales of pre-cut produce climbed 7% during the period, with the bulk of the growth coming from value-added fruit.
Growing consumer interest in the segment, of course, is not lost on produce manufacturers. Strolling the sprawling trade show floor of the recent Global Produce & Floral Show in Orlando, it seemed nearly every booth was showcasing innovations in value-added produce.
Here’s a look at some of the new offerings in pre-cut fruit and vegetables that were on display.
Green Giant Minute Mashers
Make mashed potatoes and gravy in a bag? That's one of the new offerings from Green Giant. Potatoes can be cooked and smashed in the Minute Mashers bag, complete with ready-to-pour gravy in a variety of flavors.
Naturipe Boost Bento
Fresh fruit is paired with protein such as cheese and nuts in these grab-and-go Boost Bentos snack boxes from Naturipe.
Naturipe-Chobani Berry Parfait
Yogurt is often sold with sweetened fruit but these new cups from Naturipe feature fresh, unsweetened blueberries paired with Chobani Greek yogurt and crunchy granola.
Prize Slice Apple Nachos
The Apple Nachos kits from Prize Slice may stretch the definition of "nachos." There's no cheese or tortilla chips. But there are apple slices ready to be topped with sauces like chocolate, peanut butter and caramel, and a sprinkle of pretzel pieces and white chocolate chips.
Calavo Sangria Mix
Calavo's latest value-added innovation is ready to party. The company showed off several variations of cocktail kits, including a Sangria Fruit Mix with oranges, apples and grapes and a Mojito Fruit Mix with honeydew, jalapeno and mint. The cut produce can be added to alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.
Dole Sheet Pan Meal Starter Kit
Dole's new Sheet Pan Meal Starter Kits are ready to be dumped in a pan and paired with protein for a quick, home-cooked meal. The kits come in several flavors, including French Onion, Homestyle Roasted Herb and Lemon Parmesan. They come with a mix of fresh-cut vegetables and seasoning.