Fresh produce trends and this week in food news

Patisserie Valerie and Pret in trouble; getting short changed on pizza and no beers by choice for 30% of young adults.

At #FPJLive the team behind the VegPower campaign announced £2m in free ad space from ITV and free support from two London ad agencies to create a TV campaign for early 2019.

Eric Duncan from Coveris showed plastic has an important role to play in reducing food waste (the plastic wrapper on cucumber increases its life by 14 days).

Professor Huw Jones of Aberystwyth University shared the impressive benefits of CRISPR gene editing both for food and for people and criticised the European Court ruling classing gene edited produce as GMO. 

#FPJLive and UK fruit and veg trends

This week a selection of the fresh produce community attended #FPJLive at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry to hear about the state of fresh produce in 2018 with 6 months to go until Brexit, Sainsbury’s and Asda merging, the hottest summer for 40 years, Tesco’s launch of Jack’s, the IPCC’s warning on climate change, labour shortages, pressure to reduce single use plastics and food waste.

Our principle learnings from the day came from Ed Griffiths of Kantar Worldpanel.

  1. The rise of the diverse plate and the decline of host plates for produce
  2. Economy and Premium remain growth sectors
  3. Produce consumption is changing
Ed Griffiths of Kantar WorldPanel presents retail share data @FPJLive 2018
Ed Griffiths of Kantar WorldPanel presents retail share data @FPJLive 2018. Image copyright DohertyPhotography 2018

Ed Griffiths shared his insight based on Kantar WorldPanel’s data on how the market has performed and where the opportunities could lie in produce.

  1. The rise of the diverse plate. UK shoppers are buying more fresh produce than 4 years ago. 109 shopping trips featured produce compared to 101 trips in 2014. They are also buying a slightly wider repertoire; 50 different items up from 46.

    The diverse dinner plate is driving the growth of repertoire as people buy products for oriental (+2%), Italian (+2%) as well as South American dishes instead of buying familiar items for host plates such as roast dinners. Roast dinners have declined significantly (-11% Year on Year [YoY]), as have chicken portions (-4% YoY) and baked potato meals (-16% YoY). Consumption of red meat and associated products also appears to be declining in response to people adopting flexitarian (broader mix of meat and non meat based protein) and meat free diets with steak meals down (-11% YoY), as well as meals including sausage or burgers (both -3% YoY).

    Health appears to be a growing consideration for consumers with 31% of all meal occasions (+405m servings since 2014) claimed to be consumed for health related reasons. More natural/less processed is also a driver for consumption with an increase of 15% (+288m servings).

  2. The continued rise of economy and premium. Tiering remains a growth opportunity in produce as retailers stick to the hierarchy -discounters (Aldi, Lidl), mid market (Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury), top tier (Waitrose, M&S) – and they maintain economy, standard and premium ranges in store.

    The discounters growth is well documented with Aldi’s share growing from 5.1% of grocery in 2014 to 9.6% in 2018. Lidl has grown from 4.6% to 7.3% over the same period. Asda has declined from 13.8% to 11.4%, Tesco from 26.7% to 25.5% and Sainsbury 16.5% to 15.2% over the same period. Over the 52 weeks to 9th  September 2018 Aldi and Lidl’s growth dominates the market with +9% and +7.4% respectively, compared to Tesco +2.4%, Asda +3.5% and Sainsbury +0.4%.

    Growth in the economy ranges has come from shoppers trading down from standard ranges. In spite of the media noise about Farm Brands at Tesco and Asda, both have driven growth in the economy ranges. Grade 2 or Wonky fruit and veg sales have also grown with sales doubling in the last year. As with economy, the sales have come from consumers switching from standard ranges – or example, at Morrisons 53% of wonky sales is stolen from existing standard fruit and veg spend.

    Premium produce sales have grown £38m in the past year to £782m driven by new shoppers and greater purchase frequency. The fact that Lidl has posted the strongest growth in this area suggests that the discounters are doing tiers too. We will be watching this development to see if this means they are losing their simpler approach to produce and in danger of becoming ‘me too’.

  3. Produce consumption is changing. According to Kantar Worldpanel we are eating fruit and vegetables on more occasions than 5 years ago.
    A chart that shows the increase in UK fruit and vegetable consumption since 2014 with fruit up +8% and veg up +3%
    The increase in UK fruit and vegetable consumption since 2014. Kantar WorldPanel 2018

    5The winner has been breakfast which has driven fruit consumption. 80% of growth in fruit is coming from breakfast, an additional 550m fruit eating occasions over 5 years. 90% of these additional occasions include host foods like cereal (+28%) and yoghurt (+39%). This looks likely to continue as traditional breakfast products like cereals and spreads struggle to adapt to the fight to replace or remove sugar and salt from our diet.

    Fruit is losing its place at lunch and tea but it remains a snacking product in the morning (10.6% of occasions) and afternoon (8.4% of occasions). Taste and health are driving shoppers buying choices. Shoppers say that 69% of servings are based on their desire to get a portion (5 a day), 56% of servings are influenced by taste and 43% are due to health benefits/vitamins/fibre.

    Young shoppers 16 – 24 account for over half the additional fruit eating occasions since 2014 and they are the only group of shoppers that eat more fruit across all mealtimes. If they take these habits into older years and teach them to their kids, the future looks promising for produce. The over 65’s who account for a third of all fruit occasions are the only group eating less than 5 years ago.

    4Salads have enjoyed strong growth over the past 5 years appearing in an additional 376m meal occasions. According to Ed Griffiths this is driven by 4 factors:
    – People of all age groups are eating more salad meals
    – Salad meals are twice as likely to feature in lunchbox meals
    – Almost two thirds of salad meals are eaten for health reasons. the highest of all dishes
    – 54m more salads have been consumed as quick bites showing that they fit into our busy lives.

    Finally, traditional meals are in decline and average meal preparation time has fallen from 60 minutes in the 1980s to around 20 minutes in 2018. Against this backdrop understanding how produce is being chosen for which kind of dish is important. As roasts, casseroles and meat consumption decline and salads, foreign cuisines and meat free become more mainstream, what are the opportunities for your crop?

Food news this week


Patisserie Valerie is allegedly fighting to survive and has suspended its head of finance over £20 million pound black hole. Read more

BBC News

According to an article that featured widely in print, broadcast and online, about one third of 16-24 year olds say they don’t drink alcohol which has increased from 20% in 2005. Could drinking be the new smoking? Read more

Tesco is removing ‘best before’ labels from fruit and vegetables in an effort to cut food waste. Read more


Restaurants ordered to shrink pizzas and pies in obesity fight. Will it work or will people just order two? Read more
Daily Mail

After the allergy deaths stories there are reports Pret’s baguettes may be up to a year old thanks to the part-baking process that occurs at supplier Bridor in France, before they’re frozen and then finished in store. Read more


Conference images and header image ©Andy Doherty. Doherty Photography

Data from Kantar WorldPanel 2018 ©Kantar WorldPanel