A variety of preparation methods is the key to higher vegetable consumption by the public according to the latest Veginsights quarterly vegetable industry report profiling the June 2011 quarter.

The report, which provides a quarterly overview of industry trends, said that the vegetables which typically enjoyed more sales were those that could be prepared for consumption in the widest variety of ways.

AUSVEG spokesperson Andrew White said that consumers were beginning to look at more novel preparation options for different vegetables, but that the traditionally popular vegetable types still dominated when it came to having the ability to be prepared in a wide variety of ways. Mr White said that flexible vegetables were the most appealing to consumers, who were constantly striving for convenience.

“When you look at carrots, for example, which are the most popular vegetable, they can be baked, roasted, stir fried, juiced and even eaten raw, whereas for some other products, their sole major use is either in roasting, stir frying or in salads,” Mr White said.

“It’s clear that the key to higher vegetable consumption and higher sales may be in making some of those less conventional vegetables more attractive to consumers in respect to a wider variety of uses. Those products with the widest variety of preparation options are very convenient for the consumer who is looking to eat on the go or who lives a busy lifestyle,” he said.

“While traditionally vegetables have been prepared in a limited number of ways, there is now actually a whole array of different options out there. Broccoli can be mashed and capsicums can be used in a sauce or a soup for instance – there is an ever expanding range of ways to combine vegetable in different preparation methods, also incorporating new ingredients.”

“There is a lesson in this for growers and marketers of these products and that’s to be creative and help in the education process that is happening with consumers. MasterChef and a whole range of contemporary cooking shows have helped champion this cause.”

“Of the 23 vegetable types profiled in the report, all but two could be stir fried or used in a salad and all but three could be baked or grilled. Vegetables are clearly a very flexible, healthy and easy to use option, but there is also merit in looking at promoting new ways to prepare certain vegetables in order to lift consumption and improve health within society.”

AUSVEG is the national peak industry body representing around 7,000 vegetable growers.

While use in salads was down from 61% of households to 44% compared to the last quarter cooking at home was up from 89% to 95% of households.

“Cooking at home had become more popular over the course of the June quarter, most likely due to the cooler weather we experienced,” Mr White said.

The Veginsights report was produced by a market analysis and consulting firm through the Vegetable Industry Development Program funded by the National Vegetable Levy with matched funds from the Australia Government.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew White, Manager – VIDP Communications, AUSVEG Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0409 989 575, Email: andrew.white@ausveg.com.au