They’re small in size, big in flavor, and have the ability to elicit coos of “How cute!” from consumers. Baby vegetables are growing in popularity, and there’s big potential for these little veggies.
5 things to know about baby vegetables
Recently, Robinson Fresh conducted a survey of U.S. consumers to learn more about their feelings toward baby vegetables and the factors that influence their purchase decisions. From their responses, we gleaned these key insights.
1. Smaller portions—and less waste—is appealing to consumers.
Many consumers have good intentions when they enter stores: they want to eat healthy, so they purchase fresh, nutritious foods. But it can be challenging for them to accurately gauge the amount of produce they’ll be able to eat while it’s still fresh. As a result, sometimes food goes to waste.
In our survey, 90% of respondents said that baby vegetables were an appealing concept and cited portion size and less food waste as key reasons. Baby vegetables’ miniature sizes mean they’re easy to prep, cook, and enjoy in a timely manner—which means less food is wasted. Plus, the small size of baby vegetables adds a whimsical, interesting element to the plate.
2. Be clear about what “baby vegetable” means—and what it doesn’t.
Consumer perception is important to consider when offering new kinds of products. The 10% of survey respondents who said baby vegetables were not appealing indicated that they perceived them to be genetically modified, unnatural, or not fully mature produce.
To remove those misconceptions and drive more sales, educate consumers on what it means to be a baby vegetable: baby vegetables are small in stature because they’re bred to be small and not genetically modified. That said, they’re fully mature—not merely picked early in the growing process.
Consumers will continue to care about the ways produce is grown and how new varieties come to be, so it’s important to consistently share that information.
3. Consumers crave convenience, but versatility is also valuable.
When survey respondents were asked about the reasons they thought favorably about baby vegetables, many noted the appeal of the convenience of their size and the value of their versatility. Baby vegetables’ miniature sizes means snack or meal prep is a snap: just a few slices and they’re a perfect grab-and-go snack, ready for the lunchbox, or ready for a number of recipes.
To entice purchases of baby vegetables, call out the quick and various ways these wee vegetables can be used in all kinds of snacks and meals—including hors d’oeuvres, salads, entrees, garnishes, and beyond.
4. Brands positively influence purchase decisions.
The right brand can help drive sales. In our survey, respondents had high brand recognition for a nationally known brand—like Green Giant™ Fresh—and associated it with quality and freshness. Nationally known brands can instill immediate consumer confidence and influence and motivate consumers’ purchase decisions when they’re selecting baby vegetables.
5. Packaging matters—and consumers favor specific features.
Fresh produce packaging offers many benefits, from preventing damage to the product to providing real estate for branding, preparation or cooking tips, and other information. Survey respondents showed preference for two key packaging features:
- Clear product visibility. About a third of survey respondents said that transparent packaging is important because they want to easily see the freshness and quality of the baby vegetables. This is also helpful for consumers who may assume that packaged produce isn’t as fresh as bulk.
- Resealable and easy-to-store functionality. Three-quarters of respondents preferred packaging options with resealable closures. This feature gives consumers the ability to easily portion out and use baby vegetables as needed and conveniently store and protect the quality of the remaining product in the refrigerator.
Generally speaking, consumption of vegetables has increased over the last few years. Two-thirds of survey respondents said they were eating more vegetables as a way to live healthier lifestyles and to help improve their families’ health. As a nutritious and versatile option, baby vegetables have big potential with health-conscious consumers, and they’re the ultimate convenience for busy consumers who are looking to save time but still crave nutritious, fresh foods.
Connect with one of our experts to explore baby vegetable options.