Produce Trends Follow Food Trends: What is the Next Kale?

Produce Trends Follow Food Trends: What is the Next Kale?

Not so long ago, kale was king in produce aisles and on restaurant menus. But there’s a new crowning glory making its presence known: cauliflower.

The rise of cauliflower

Google Trends indicates that the kale craze began declining in 2016, with cauliflower overcoming the power green in searches among consumers. Sales-wise, cauliflower heads anchor the category, but value-added options—like florets and diced cauliflower—are also increasingly driving dollars growth.

Not long ago, cauliflower was seemingly just another vegetable apathetically tossed onto crudité platters. Today, it’s celebrated for being a culinary blank canvas. The veggie can easily be enhanced or transformed, or used to add texture and nutrition to a variety of dishes.

And, thanks to its ability to grow in many regions across the country—including the Salinas Valley in California, where the growing season is 10 months out of the year—cauliflower is almost always available.

Produce trends follow food trends

In addition to being reliably present, cauliflower is incredibly versatile, making it an ideal ingredient for the food trends consumers follow.

Health and diet trends. Cauliflower is vitamin-rich and low in calories. It also makes a great substitute for carbs and has been showing up in favorite recipes like cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower rice, cauliflower macaroni and cheese, and even cauliflower chocolate cake. For the increasing number of consumers who follow plant-based, low-carb, or gluten-free diets—or dabble with meatless Mondays or other healthy eating trends—replacing traditional proteins or carbs with the veggie is an easy, tasty, viable option.

Culinary and cooking trends. Consumers are getting more adventurous with cooking and eating more culturally diverse cuisines. As they research recipes and learn more about the produce used around the world, more vegetables, like cauliflower, tend to land on their plates. And, because it has low water content, it’s a great candidate for caramelizing, pureeing, mashing, grilling, roasting, sautéing, frying, and ricing. Other vegetables, like kale, have far fewer options.

Consumers are also sharing the creative ways they use produce on their social networks, which contributes to a cycle of inspiring their followers and connections to do the same and helps boost cauliflower’s popularity.

3 retail merchandising ideas

Leverage the power of cauliflower and capture sales using these ideas.

Display colorful varieties to create eye-catching displays: Orange, green, and purple cauliflower can add a vibrant hue to meals. Offer these varieties to spark your shoppers’ interest.

Offer distinctive cuts that give consumers ideas for preparation: Whole heads can be sliced into steaks for grilling; florets are perfect for roasted veggie salads and tacos; and crumbles can be used to make mashed cauliflower, tots, or rice—the options are endless!

Provide meal solutions in the produce aisle: Pair cauliflower with complementary ingredients and garnishes— like parmesan cheese, Buffalo sauce, or hummus— to inspire recipe ideas.

Cauliflower is growing in popularity thanks to its versatility and health benefits. By understanding why this vegetable is in vogue, retailers can know how to best attract buyers.

To explore a cauliflower program for your store, connect with one of our fresh produce experts.

Gina Garven

Gina Garven - V.P. of Commercial Development & Analytics, Robinson Fresh

Gina Garven’s expertise in the produce industry includes category and consumer insights, financial planning and analysis, delivery of global BI and technology solutions and retail and foodservice business development, with a strong background and passion for developing supply chain solutions that support our customer’s end consumer. In her role of V.P. of commercial development & analytics for Robinson Fresh, she is responsible for strengthening Robinson Fresh’s industry leadership through the creation of best in class category insights and BI solutions that support our customers and the development of our global commercial strategy. Before joining Robinson Fresh in 2009, she held positions in retail that spanned roles in demand planning, supply chain consulting and procurement. She is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in 2003 in Business Management and Communications.

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