More than 70% of U.S. households consume bagged/packaged salads. Considering the hectic pace of the average American's daily routine, reliance on the convenience and variety offered by bagged salads and other types of ready-to-eat vegetables and fruit will be a key factor spurring the U.S. market for these products from $5.5 billion in 2013 to $7 billion by 2018, according to Branded Packaged Produce and Salads: U.S. Market Trends, a recent report by market research publisher Packaged Facts (packagedfacts.com).
Consumers can incorporate these healthy bagged foods into their diets without the washing, peeling, trimming, chopping, and other steps often required when preparing fresh produce. Waste and spoilage are minimized. Value-added products packaged with condiments or toppings that complement the specific blend of fruits or vegetables take the guesswork out of how to serve the dish or the meal.
Interestingly enough, bagged/packaged salad consumers are exceptionally likely to exhibit foodie attitudes and behaviors, notes Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. Consumers with adventurous palates have the opportunity to sample foods they may be unfamiliar with, such as quinoa, soba noodles, edamame, and especially greens like those often found in spring mix (e.g., mizuna, tango, arugula, radicchio, lolla rosa, tatsoi, chicory, frisee, mache).
Furthermore, the report reveals that consumers of branded packaged produce and salads are well above average in many health-related respects. They are trend-setters as well, trying any new diet or health food, and knowledgeable, as friends seek their advice about health and nutrition.
The report also includes data from Packaged Facts' January/February 2014 consumer survey, which found that more than 27% of U.S. consumers especially seek out and buy foods that are high in protein. Additionally, more than one-third are eating more protein than in the past and more than one-fourth are in search of non-meat sources of protein. To make their packaged salads into truly well-rounded meals, marketers are incorporating protein-rich foods and ingredients, including:
- Poultry (e.g., grilled chicken, BBQ chicken, smoked turkey, roasted turkey);
- Smoked meats (pepperoni, Genoa salami, deli-style ham, bacon);
- Dairycase products (Asagio, Feta, Parmesan, Monterey Jack, Fontina, Swiss, Cheddar, Bleu cheese, hard-boiled eggs);
- Nuts/seeds (walnuts, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, black beans, garbanzos, edamame).