Consumer purchasing and eating habits, emerging food trends, and demand for high-quality fresh produce all contribute to the quest to conceptualize and develop new varieties of fruits and vegetables. Developing new produce varieties helps drive innovation in our industry, and carrying them in your store can help your produce aisle stand apart from the rest. After all, variety is the spice of life and the produce aisle.
Here are three ways that new varieties of fruits and vegetables can make an impact in your store and keep consumers coming back.
- Keep up with consumer trends and eating preferences
Consumers continue to focus on healthy eating, and they also want easy-to-prepare foods. New varieties of fruits and vegetables are developed to provide the flavor and nutrition profiles consumers want. New varieties are also designed to align with consumers’ preferences for convenient, easy-to-enjoy items—like seedless watermelon or mini sweet peppers.
- Carry more high-quality fruits and vegetables
New varieties can mean higher-quality produce goes to market. Think about, for example, the possibilities of new varieties of produce that are developed to have extended shelf life; varieties that yield firmer produce and make it easier for growers, packers, and others to handle from harvest to shelf; varieties that are more resistant to disease and pests; varieties that add higher yield and drought tolerance; or varieties that have shorter growing cycles or ripen earlier so they can get to market earlier in the season. And sometimes, it’s about aesthetics—like getting the perfect color or size. Some consumers eat with their eyes first, so it’s important to carry the varieties that appeal to their preferences.
- Add excitement with new, interesting options
Continuously looking at food trends and consumption rates helps evolve categories—and our industry. The popularity of a particular fruit or vegetable can help catapult a positive reputation of a new variety of the commodity. New varieties can boast imaginative flavors, bold colors, or other interesting physical characteristics, which can help add a layer of excitement to your produce department.
Robinson Fresh brings innovation to your produce aisle
Robinson Fresh is committed and invested in the growing process, supported by two Product Development Centers (PDCs). There, through continuous trial and evaluation, we pinpoint opportunities to develop new varieties of fresh produce, utilizing findings from focus groups with consumers and the expertise of the growers, agronomists, and retailers we work with. From there, we can bring exciting innovation to your produce aisle—all while supporting our growers with technology and sustainable farming practices.
This spring, Robinson Fresh introduced Orangetti™ squash, a vivid-orange gourd that has unique preparation and eating qualities—it is easy to prepare and can be enjoyed as a healthier alternative to pasta. Orangetti comes at a time when ease of consumption is a priority and spaghetti squash consumption is on the rise, and it’s available in both organic and conventional offerings.
The squash was trialed at the Robinson Fresh PDCs in both Davis, CA, and Tifton, GA, for multiple seasons, as well as other locations in North America and Mexico. From an agronomic perspective, it proved to be a winner in multiple growing regions. We’re excited about consumers’ response to the squash, and we’re looking forward to the next innovative product.
If you’d like to learn more about new product development, connect with one of our fresh produce experts.