Brussels sprouts enjoy newfound popularity - The Packer

Brussels sprouts enjoy newfound popularity

03/22/2013 03:22:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Brussels sprouts may finally be getting their day in the sun, with growing consumer interest and sales.

“We continue to have increasing demand on all the brussels sprouts packs that we offer,” said Butch Corda, general manager of Ippolito International LP, Salinas, Calif.

Ippolito International offers Brussels sprouts in various sizes, including a 25-pound bulk carton, 1-pound clamshell, 1- and 2-pound bags, a 12-ounce bag, and even a microwave bag, Corda said.

Others agree that Brussels sprouts are trending right now.

“We’ve had substantial growth in the past years and are seeing increased consumption through our increasing same-store sales,” said Russ Widerburg, sales manager at Boskovich Farms, Inc., Oxnard, Calif.

“We’ve seen an increase in sales over the past couple of months,” said Mishalin Modena, senior marketing manager for Salinas, Calif.-based Green Giant Fresh.

The company recently upgraded its Brussels sprouts packaging, which Modena says contributed to an increase in sales.

“It’s a high-graphic bag, so it really pops on the shelf,” she said.

The rise in popularity can also be largely attributed to the increase in use by chefs on television and in popular restaurants.

“Brussels sprouts are a ‘hot ingredient’ right now being added to menus across the U.S.,” Kori Tuggle, director of marketing and business development, Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville, Calif., said in an e-mail.

The vegetable, which often has been considered unglamorous, is now enjoying the attention of popular chefs on food and cooking television shows.

“Chefs are being more adventurous and finding new flavor in these vegetables that some consumers might have considered unexciting or have been predisposed to dislike from their childhood,” Modena said.

One positive result of this exposure is increased creativity in usage. Another benefit is an increase in consumer knowledge in how to select and cook them.

“I think consumers have gained an education from food shows, as well as retailers helping to provide information,” Widerburg said.

Widerburg also cites packaging as a helpful source of information, since it often includes information and recipes.

Tuggle said even the Brussels sprout stalk is gaining in attention.

“The Brussels sprout stalk format is growing in popularity around the holidays for retailers who want a ‘show stopper’ to display as an attention attractor,” she said in an e-mail.

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