Australian vegetable industry urged to innovate

Produce Innovation Seminar tomAustralia lags behind the rest of the world in the race to meet global consumer demand for novel vegetable products. On average, less than 2% of products containing vegetables launched globally are released in Australia.

This is according to the latest Project Harvest consumer reports released by AUSVEG, Australia’s leading horticulture body representing 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

“The relatively low number of new vegetable product launches in Australia indicates that there is an opportunity for vegetable growers to find new ways of getting their vegetables to consumers,” said Tim Shue, AUSVEG spokesperson.

“New product types may help relieve pressures placed on growers by retailers. Vegetables that don’t make the grade could be transformed into brand-new products rather than going to waste,” said Shue.

Green bean ice-cream, instant pumpkin desserts, yoghurts and chips containing vegetable products and vegetable garden cream cheeses are just a handful of the thousands of new products recently launched overseas.

“Creativity, lateral thinking and an active engagement with global experts in produce innovation could help industry access new domestic and international markets,” said Shue.

“While the fresh market may remain the focus for Australia, other countries throughout Asia, Europe and the US have been investing in novel vegetable products, and this indicates that there are definitely markets out there,” added Shue.

AUSVEG has organised a forum in June to discuss vegetable product innovation. The Produce Innovation Seminar will hear from industry figures from the US and Europe in product innovation and sensory science.