Cooking veg the key to retail growth

STAFF REPORTERThe West Australian

Educating Australians about different vegetable varieties and how to cook with them may lead to retail growth, according to new research released by AUSVEG.

The research, which was conducted by leading market research company Colmar Brunton, involved a survey of over 900 Australian consumers on their attitudes to beans, carrots, pumpkins and cauliflowers.

"Latest research indicates a growing appeal amongst vegetable consumers for both varietal information and material about the provenance of vegetables. Despite this interest in new varieties though, consumers still have a relatively low awareness of the different varieties that exist," industry development and communications manager Andrew White said. "This suggests that if retailers and growers can provide these varieties and educate consumers about their optimal use in meal situations, this may lead to retail growth and potentially greater consumption of vegetables overall.

"Education on the versatility of different vegetable varieties across cuisines is needed. From the four vegetables that were included in this month's survey, consumers indicated they had the most interest in new varieties of beans and pumpkin. Interestingly, these were also the vegetables that had the highest proportion of respondents saying they would purchase more of the product in the future."

AUSVEG is Australia's leading horticulture body representing 9000 vegetable and potato growers.

"Traditional Australian cuisine is still the most popular style of cooking in many homes, but the research also indicates that many Australians are expanding their repertoire to include other cooking styles, such as Asian cuisine, which is leading to demand for a wider range of vegetable varieties," he said.

"Consumers clearly want a wider range of vegetable varieties to choose from and they want to know more about how to best use them. Food presentation is also important with around 40% of shoppers indicating that adding colour to a meal was also an important consideration.

"Learning from these insights and responding to consumer needs is essential for our growers in ensuring the future of the Australian vegetable industry."

The research project has been funded through HAL using the National Vegetable Levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.

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