You can call it a broccolatte, a brassicappuccino or just a cruciferous coffee – whatever the name, it’s easy to see that the idea of adding broccoli to your morning caffeine hit has captured the imagination of Australians this week.

On Wednesday, Hort Innovation publicly launched the latest innovation from the levy-funded CSIRO project trying to reduce food waste: an extruded powder made from broccoli that can help Australians add another serve of vegetables to their daily diet by being used in meals, including beverages like smoothies or cups of coffee.

The story catapulted to the front pages of Australian news outlets, from The Guardian to The Australian, and was also a feature on some tech-heavy mastheads like Gizmodo and Mashable.

While not everyone had a positive reaction to the suggestion that their morning brew could become a little bit more brassicaceous, the story prompted some serious discussion about the role that vegetables play in the Australian diet.

After all, while this project is about helping vegetable growers find new paths to market for produce that otherwise wouldn’t get sold, it’s also about finding new ways that consumers can fit vegetables into their everyday lives.

We know that consumers’ meal habits are changing, and that it’s critical to find convenient ways for our produce to fit into the modern Australian lifestyle. Food extrusion technology, like the tech used to create broccoli powder or other vegetable snacks, is just one way to meet evolving consumer preferences.

If you’re interested in the trends that are shaping the Australian vegetable industry, make sure you see the Hort Connections panel Future Food Trends: What’s the next kale boom.

This discussion about the future of Australian food will include a host of experts, including Dr Mary Ann Augustin, the project lead on the CSIRO project behind the broccolatte. It’ll be moderated by Alice Zaslavsky, who is currently delivering the Phenomenom educational project for Hort Innovation and recently appeared on ABC News Breakfast talking about ways to slip vegetables into the school curriculum.

Between them, the panellists have decades of experience in the fresh produce sector, from market research to food science. This discussion will deliver some valuable insights into what Australians think about when they think about eating vegetables and help you understand what the future holds for the industry.

The panel kicks off at 8:00am on Wednesday 20 June, so who knows – maybe it’ll leave you inspired to sprinkle a little broccoli into your morning pick-me-up.

You can still register online for Hort Connections, which is being held from 18-20 June 2018 in Brisbane.

This post appeared in the AUSVEG Weekly Update published 12 June 2018. Subscribe to the Update using our online form to receive the latest industry news in your inbox every week!