Trend towards more sustainable packaging for processed fruit, vegetables cited

The trend towards more sustainable packaging is expected to shape product innovations as German consumers’ demand for healthier and more convenient products remains a major driver for sales of processed fruit and vegetables over the next few years.

The Euromonitor Digest cited Frosta which launched the first paper-based packaging for frozen processed vegetables and has a longer-term goal to replace all plastic bags with paper-based alternatives.

“Innovations in terms of recipes could see the emergence of hemp as a naturally healthy and protein-rich ingredient,” said the monthly online publication of the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB).

The report said premiumization and innovative ingredients are set to feature further.

It said price pressure is expected to continue impacting shelf-stable fruit and vegetables until 2025, especially as discounters represent by far the largest channel.

“Therefore, manufacturers are likely to continue focusing on a positioning based on natural ingredients and premium recipes,” it added, citing as examples organic ranges including sweet potatoes as well as organic vegetables.

The report said the home-cooking trend will remain relevant beyond 2020, but fresh fruit and vegetables will limit category potential.

“The foodservice channel’s gradual recovery has been underway since mid-May in Germany, and sales in 2021 will reflect the rebound. Given that consumers are now visiting the outlets again, and that many home supplies do not need replenishing for a while following the stockpiling, retail volume sales of processed fruit and vegetables are
likely to show a slump in 2021,” it said.

However, the report said foodservice sales are predicted to remain under the level reached in 2019, pre-pandemic year, up to 2025.

“The increased prevalence of working from home is likely to remain significant over the forecast period, giving consumers more time to cook meals at home using processed vegetables, while reducing the consumption of products targeting on-the-go eating and through foodservice channels,” it said.

The report further said volume growth for processed fruit and vegetables will be sluggish when sales normalize in 2022.

“Strong competition from fresh produce is expected to continue undermining growth prospects for the category, as most consumers prefer fresh to processed products. As many fresh fruit(s) and vegetables have become available almost year-round in modern grocery retailers, this is constraining sales of their processed equivalents,” it said.

It added shelf-stable fruits and vegetables are expected to be more vulnerable to the competition from fresh produce than frozen equivalents which are positioned as being closer to fresh produce in terms of recipes.

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