California prunes' role in maintaining a healthy immune system will be the focus of marketing as consumers seek out foods that offer protection during a Covid winter.
The California Prune Board has reported rising exports to the UK and key European markets, and expects growing interest in health to boost sales.
Kevin Verbruggen, the California Prune Board’s European marketing director, believes shoppers are choosing natural, nutritious foods as a way to support their overall health, partly spurred on by the pandemic. This trend has led to a renaissance in the popularity of prunes, he added, boosted by their nutritional profile and versatility.
“According to recent research from Mintel, more than two thirds of British consumers are looking for nutrients that will support their immune system," Verbruggen said. "As a source of key nutrients like Vitamin B6 and copper, both of which can help keep our immune systems in good working order, California Prunes are gaining in popularity as both a snack and an ingredient.”
Verbruggen also pointed to an Innova consumer survey this year, in which one in three consumers polled said that concerns about immune health increased this year over 2019, with immunity-boosting ingredients ‘set to play a significant role’ next year.
Dried fruits have a similar nutrient content to the corresponding fresh varieties, yet can be stored for much longer, Verbruggen pointed out, and the shelf-stable nature of prunes has further contributed to their renewed appeal, particularly in light of fears around supply chain disruption.
“As prunes can be safely stored in the cupboard for up to a year, they’re attractive to consumers, even more so because they are so versatile in use," Verbruggen added. “With winter just weeks away, we are expecting buoyant sales to continue as shoppers look for natural foods that will help maintain their immune systems. Eating a handful of prunes is a simple and tasty way to achieve one of the recommended 5 A Day and is certainly an easy place to start for those looking to improve their overall lifestyle.”