Market research firm Packaged Facts has forecast moderate annual consumption gains through 2021 and has tagged six key trends that will drive produce sales growth.

According to the report, available for purchase online, consumption of fresh produce grew about 1.3% annually between 2011 and 2016.

“Fruit and vegetable producers benefited from steady growth among the U.S. population, as well as from the fact that all age groups have high usage rates, especially Gen X adults,” David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, said in a news release. “Fruits and vegetables are expected to continue experiencing growth in niche areas as consumers persist in seeking out novel flavors from around the world.”

Increases in disposable personal income, will boost sales in specific categories of fruits and vegetables, including verified non-GMO, organic, and locally grown, he said.

“Also, marketing strategies focusing on health and the delicious taste of fresh produce will help fruits and vegetables to expand their appeal and per-capita consumption,” Sprinkle said in the release.

The report lists six key trends to drive sales of fresh fruit and vegetable market:

  • Online grocery shopping and delivery services — Millennials and families with young children will find appeal in online grocery shopping.
  • Meal kit delivery — Meal kits appeal mostly to millennials and Generation X, especially single people and men, who enjoy convenience and less food waste.
  • Community Supported Agriculture/local food — Direct sales can give growers better financial security and consumers fresher produce.
  • Diet/superfood claims — Trendy diets such as the paleo and raw food diet emphasize healthy benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, appealing to young people. Baby boomers also eat healthy and are a key demographic for fresh produce purchases. Ready-to-eat fresh fruits and vegetables also represent an attractive snack option for many consumers on diets.
  • Exotic flavors — Chili pepper consumption grew 5% annually from 2011-16, and there is a growing interest in Mexican and South American cuisine.
  • Flexitarian demand — Marketing opportunities exist with meat-eating consumers who can be persuaded to eat more vegetarian meals or less meat overall.