I ran across a story today on the Web touting fruit and veggie consumption, but with an unexpected twist.

From the Las Cruces News, a story headlined “Dept. of Health: Fruits and veggies matter more”

From the story:

Remember when we were kids and our parents encouraged us to eat our vegetables? Well, we may have listened then, but we’re sure not listening now.

That’s according a federal report showing more than 90 percent of both adults and children do not eat the amount of fruits and vegetables recommended by the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the My Plate nutrition guide

Not only do we New Mexicans need to eat more fruits and vegetables, they are kind of foods that matter more than most on our plate. That’s why September is Fruits & Veggies Matter More month.

TK: The actual tagline, of course, is Fruit and Veggies More Matters. And September is National Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month.  

 Was it dyslexia, unfortunate juxtaposition or artistic license? I’m not sure, but this version 2.0 of More Matters/Matter More is kind of catchy. Do fruits and veggies “matter more” than popsicles and Tang? Darn right. Do they “matter more” than Pop Tarts and Jimmy Dean sausages? In our better moments they do.

So the New Mexico Department of Agriculture may have got the words reversed, but the message may even be more correct and direct. Fruits and veggies - Matter More. Or should, at least.

 

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 Rick Eastes, longtime industry veteran and marketing consultant based in Visalia, today shared his thoughts with me on the progress of California’s grape season. I share them below, with his permission.

From Rick:

Interesting that California has just shipped 30% of its estimated crop if the crop is to reach or approach the 117 million boxes shipped last season.

To date, the 2014 season is running about 8 % ahead of last year, most of the increase to date seems to be attributable to the extremely early season, and not necessarily any increases in actual volume when considering early and mid-season varieties.

However, the big question mark is how much of the new plantings (last 5 years) of late season varieties will actually show a ‘true’ increase in the total volume.

Big increases in volume of Autumn King and other proprietary white varieties will likely put the industry again in ‘new territory’ as the heavy harvest begins now in September through October. We will likely see even greater percentage increases with the various red seedless varieties, the so-called “Crimson Killer” varieties developed for the late season.

It no longer will be about just red, green, and black seedless in the late season. It will be about some major players trying to differentiate themselves with their own unique varieties. This will be one of the driving forces that continue to drive a revolution in packaging, especially the high-graphic, super clear, ‘carry bags’ as each shipper with unique varieties tries to set themselves apart from their competition.

Consumers now are going to have choices not just between green and red varieties, for example, but ‘which’ red variety, or green variety they prefer—or are offered at retail. Retail grape pricing now will vary dramatically depending on the relative characteristics of the range of new varieties being offered.

Initially the choices may seem confusing as different retailers must choose which varieties they will feature in each color. Then, because many of the offerings will be limited, retailers will find themselves being forced to switching back and forth which may give a different retail message to individual consumers as they get different red varieties at their favor store week to week, for example.

As consumers we tend to think choice is good. However, we should expect some unique consumer reactions to the wide variety of choices there will be at retail stories between now and the holiday season.

The real positive is that most of the new varieties are large in berry size and have good flavor profiles which should help ‘float the boat’ of demand.

Brazilian, Peruvian, and even early Copiapó suppliers will finally begin the process of adjusting to large, high quality, storage varieties offered right through into early January.

At the very least, it will be interesting.

 

TK: Thanks to Rick for his trained and astute observations on what appears to be a produce category that is growing in complexity and opportunity.