Waitrose, the upmarket British food retailer, has seen impressive sales growth across large swathes of its vegetable offer, Eurofruit has learned.
In an exclusive interview published in the magazine’s January 2016 issue, the chain’s category varietal development manager, David Northcroft, said that a surge in consumer interest in vegetables was being driven by a trend towards healthier eating and in particular using veg as ingredients in home-made smoothies.
Northcroft also noted that the trend ran counter to recent speculation that the products on offer in retail fresh produce departments are, on average, becoming sweeter – supposedly in response to competition from sugar-heavy snack products.
“We’ve actually seen a big uplift lately in bitter-tasting vegetables such as kale, chard and chicory,” Northcroft observed.
“One of the newest trends we’ve seen is people are buying lots of kale and combining it with fruit like grapes in home-made smoothies using things like the NutriBullet.”
In vegetables, he added, the recent introduction of new products including speciality kales and sweet-sprouting cauliflower has created renewed interest among consumers.
“I would also say we are helping people eat a rainbow by running more lines in carrots, kale and speciality veg like green beans.
“There’s been a bit of consolidation in potatoes, with a reduction in the number of individual types, but at the same time the drive towards convenience is boosting sales of things like stir-fry packs.”
The full interview with David Northcroft appears in Eurofruit’s January 2016 issue, which is available to read for free here.