A recent report from USDA’s Economic Research Service found that food prepared and consumed away from home “accounted for 42 percent of American household’s food budgets and 32 percent of calorie intake during 2005-08.” Convenience foods are more often associated with high-calorie snacks and fast food products than fruits and vegetables. However, as obesity rates continue to rise, this trend is changing.
Healthy, ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables are a big part of the solution and foodservice applications for produce items such as avocadoes have proven incredibly successful. By “extending fresh…avocado awareness and generating new menu applications” national and regional promotions developed by the California Avocado Commission have resulted in around 30% of their avocadoes being sold into foodservice channels and that number is growing!
Apple browning has been a huge barrier to meeting consumer demand (a 2011 survey identified that consumers’ number one most requested packaged produce item is apples) and is a chief reason that apples are under-represented in the foodservice arena. While statistics on the use of apples in foodservice do not warrant being formally tracked, it can be seen in the 2011 Production and Utilization report from U.S. Apple Association that industry growth in foodservice applications, such as freshcut apples, has much room for growth.
While freshcut apples are somewhat common in U.S. markets (1.4% of apples sold are freshcut slices), this is largely through retail rather than foodservice and falls well short of a comparable freshcut product, baby carrots. Baby carrots, which have been in supermarkets since 1989, now make up over two-thirds of all U.S. carrot sales (around 1.5 billion pounds), with 20% sold into the foodservice sector!
Arctic® apples make access to these foodservice markets much more attainable than ever before. The models of baby carrots and California avocadoes, which for the first time in history saw crop value surpass $400 million in back-to-back years (which is largely attributable to the growth in foodservice), can be applied to apples too.
Arctic® apples will deliver consumers the healthy, convenient product that they’ve been requesting; allowing foodservice operators to be creative with getting apples into more meals (while avoiding costly anti-browning treatments) – meaning substantial benefits can be enjoyed by all!