Significant growth potential in UK fresh produce market

There is significant growth potential in UK fresh produce market, according to Lorcan Bourke, Bord Bia of Horticulture Division.

Bourke outlined that although 85% of consumers in UK feel that it is very important to eat 5 or more pieces of fresh produce a day, consumers are actually only eating 3.6 pieces on a daily basis.

He said: “As a result, there is significant scope to increase this consumption to 5 a day and beyond. The ‘appearance’ of produce remains the most important criteria in the selection of fresh produce, with colour and size being the main issue. Consumers in the UK seem less concerned with the regularity of shape, while appearance seems to matter more to younger shoppers.”

Bourke noted that in terms of promotional mechanics, ‘half price’ is viewed as the most important mechanic to motivate UK consumers towards fresh produce purchase, while 50% of those surveyed felt that fresh produce is ‘over packaged,’ with better, more recyclable packaging options being sought by consumers.

He said: “Public concerns over ‘waste’ run high in the UK, with 66% of people being concerned about the whole issue of wastage around fresh produce usage. In all, 75% of survey respondents claim to waste 30% or less of the fresh produce they buy.”

“In terms of other motivators to purchase, ‘provenance’ is also a key factor for UK consumers when buying both meat and fresh produce. Two thirds of people surveyed thought it was either important or very important to buy fresh produce ‘in season,’ while a further 66% are also in favour of extending the UK growing season. Those who think buying fresh produce ‘in season’ is important are twice as likely to agree to the use of polythene tunnels to extend the UK growing season.”