2019 Fruit and Vegetable Trends: Simple Solutions for Busy People
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the NY Produce Show to learn about the latest and greatest in the world of fruits and veggies. Here’s what you can expect to see coming your way to the supermarkets in 2019. If you and your significant other think you don’t have time to prepare and enjoy fruits and veggies, these trends will give you a new reason to revisit your produce aisle.
President & CEO of the Produce for Better Health Foundation and fellow registered dietitian, Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, started the day off with a “Love Letter to Produce”. She asked why so many people have fallen out of love with fruits and veggies. There was discussion of distrust, time, knowledge, skills, and some recent food recalls. I don’t think people have necessarily fallen out of love with fruits and vegetables, but have more drifted apart over the years. That’s why the 2019 Fruit and Vegetable Trends will help rekindle that love.
2019 Fruit And Vegetable Trends
If you’re busy, purchasing produce may be a little lower on your list. You may feel like you’re never home to eat it, you forget to take it with you to work, or you may be tired of throwing out spoiled items before having a chance to enjoy them. It’s perfectly OK to admit that you may have absolutely no idea what to do with a fresh pomegranate, pineapple, or avocado. The good news is that producers are hearing you loud and clear. They WANT you to eat their products, and they want to make it simple for you to do so. That’s why the biggest food trend coming your way for fruits and veggies is: CONVENIENCE & KITS.
Convenience cuts for fruits and veggies isn’t something new, but it’s definitely exploding. Back in the day we had baby carrots and celery sticks ready to go. Now when I walk into my local supermarket, the first thing that greets me are pre-cut veggie packages for side dishes and main meals. Here’s just a few examples:
- Cauliflower: Whole Head -> Precut Florets -> Riced
- Butternut Squash: Whole Squash -> Halved Squash -> Fries -> Cubes -> Spiralized -> Riced
- Sweet Potato: Whole Potato -> Spiralized -> Fries -> Cubes
- Zucchini: Whole Zucchini -> Spiralized -> Coin Slices -> Long Slices -> Quartered Slices
I will say, there’s nothing more intimidating than a whole butternut squash, so personally I’m thankful that convenience cuts have opened my kitchen horizons.
When you’re part of a full-time working couple, making full meals from scratch is challenging. Convenience cuts help to get meals on the table a little faster and spend more time relaxing together instead of cooking and cleaning. You can find convenience cuts of produce not only in your produce section, but also in the freezer aisle as well.
Benefits of Convenience Cuts:
- Washed & Ready
- Time Saver
- Helps Reduce Food Waste by Using ASAP
Cautions of Convenience Cuts:
- More Expensive
- Shorter Shelf Life
- Can have lower nutrient quality due to increased exposure to oxygen
Keep an eye out for more convenience cuts to be featured in recipes on the blog this year!
While convenience cuts definitely help get over one of the produce hurdles, the other factor is knowing what the heck to do with those fresh zoodles you’ve just purchased. That’s why grocery stores will be making even more shelf space for prep kits this year. Prep kits can include your veggies already washed and prepped accordingly, and include packets of seasoning blends or sauces. Some kits assume you have some staples at home, like fresh garlic and olive oil, while others are making it as dummy-proof as possible by including everything. Some kits can be used as side dishes, while others can be a main meal when a protein item is added. I watched many of these kits go from package to plate in under 5 minutes at the NY Produce Show.
Benefits of Prep Kits:
- Washed, prepped and ready to cook straight from the package
- All-inclusive or just add a few extra ingredients
- Cook fresh side dishes in 5-10 minutes
- Less food waste because you have a plan for your produce
Cautions of Prep Kits:
- More Expensive
- Shorter Shelf Life
- Not complete meals – need to add protein sources and sometimes whole grains to round out the meal
- Seasoning packets and sauces can be higher in sodium
I’ll be reviewing lots of produce prep kits this upcoming year to share some Taco & Mandy favorites – and ones to pass on at the store. Fist up – check out my review of SUNSET® Produce YOU MAKE ME™ Pasta Kits!
WHAT ELSE IS HOT IN PRODUCE?
It may seem like fruits and veggies have been around forever, but here’s a few more things that will be popping up in your produce section:
- Yellow Dragonfruit – like it’s pink & white cousin, the yellow dragonfruit has a yellow flesh and outside. It’s much sweeter than the pink and white varieties you’re used to. Expect to see these popping up on smoothies, smoothie bowls, and Instagram posts galore!
- Caulilini – are you familiar with broccolini, a sweeter version of traditional broccoli? Get ready to meet Caulilini, the cauliflower version of broccolini (currently only available at high-end restaurants, so expect to see this on a menu near you). The pic below is caulilini – what do you think???