The Packer’s 125th-anniversary edition is coming out later this year, and it has been fun collecting material for that publication and publishing articles from past anniversary editions.

One of the tools we used was an industry survey asking readers 11 questions about the past, present and future of the fresh produce trade. The survey is still open, and readers are welcome to weigh in with their perspectives. 

Here is one of the questions from the survey, and answers from our readers in response:

What consumer trends will drive sales and demand for produce in the next 25 years?

  •  Food as medicine;
  • Organics, clean ingredients, imported new exotics/new ethnic menus/recipes;
  • Flavor and convenience;
  • Transparency: Consumers demanding to know more about the companies they buy from; this is inter-connected with sustainability;
  • Omni-Channel Experience: evaluating the consumer journey and their relationships to brands;
  • Reasonable cost of product:
  • I think health trends will continue to drive sales and demand, as well as new varieties and new items;
  • I think the growth of items like mango and avocado will continue to spike up as more and more of the population is enjoying these items. I could also see a ‘back to basics’ effort at some point, especially with the continued income disparity leading to more classic items like baked potatoes being in vogue;
  •  I believe it will be the demand for more organically grown produce as well as sustainability. On sustainability, I think it will have to be real facts not the stories the industry tells to make consumers feel good. The organic revolution will really take hold when more is grown and prices are in line with conventionally grown produce;
  • Health and wellness;
  • Getting younger consumers on board;
  • Keeping farmers in business;
  • Year-round availability / from a local source (never before possible);
  • Transparency of product source;
  • Ease of use and flavor improvements;
  • Taste/Flavor;
  • Health Benefits/Food as Medicine; 
  • Convenience (Time Saving);
  • Convenience, flavor, healthful eating choices, and preparation ideas and suggestions;
  • Demand for organic/local produce;
  • Value-added and packaged produce;
  • As much as I want to say convenience, I believe we are just at the tip of the hyper localization trend. Consumer demand, I believe will lead to more food will be grown closer to the end-user than ever before in the western hemisphere, Convenience will still drive demand, but sustainability will become more influential in demand, primarily for millennials but others will come on board;
  • Taste, versatility, convenience, sustainability, well-being;
  • E-commerce and home delivery of fruits and vegetables;
  • Convenience, search for new flavors and tastes;
  • Connectivity of brand/farm/grower to what drives the consumer, an emotional or deeper connecting from the brand to the consumer beyond the surface will drive sales;
  • Flavor and quality;
  • Culinary, food networks focus on flavor, variety, and exposure to eating more fresh produce;
  • Locally grown;
  • The continuing trend of healthy eating of fresh produce.

TK: What do you think? Readers mentioned organic, sustainability, home delivery and online grocery, hyper-local food and the familiar themes of flavor, convenience, and healthy eating. Are we missing any obvious (or not) answers? Hop online and take the survey if you have something to add.

 
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