Unusual products, together with more prepared produce, are in vogue in the out-of-home eating market

Sprout salad

Sprout salad

Innovation will help drive sales of traditional vegetables this Christmas, according to foodservice supplier Fresh Direct.

The compnay noted that traditional vegetables are continuing to perform well in the foodservice space, with volumes up year on year as more normality returns to Christmas trading.

However, the growth in prepared products is more striking, up by around 20 per cent as the festive period comes closer and pressures on kitchens increase, with fewer and less skilled staff available.  

Fresh Direct says it is seeing greater sales of specialist ingredients including quince, bergamot orange, and Douglas Forest Fir, as venues seek different flavour profiles and menu standout.

These are joining twists on popular veg with coloured varieties, for example purple heritage and rainbow carrots, proving particularly popular this year, along with baby vegetables such as baby turnips. 

Ian Nottage, head of food development at Fresh Direct, said: “Christmas isn’t just about carrots and sprouts. There are around 250 different prepared fruit and veg lines available as customers look for opportunities to create menu standout. 

“Christmas favourites will always dominate, but we’re also seeing a huge increase in prepared ranges with whole prepared butternut squash, prepared swede, quartered parsnip and diced potato seeing some of the greatest growth.”