Product innovation could open new doors for Australian vegetable industry, Ausveg

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th May 2014
Product innovation by Australian veg growers "lags behind" the rest of the world, says AusVeg

Novel vegetable products could be an opportunity for Australian vegetable growers and processors to reach more Australian consumers, according to vegetable and potato representative body AusVeg.

AusVeg said its latest Project Harvest consumer reports showed that Australia was lagging behind the rest of the world in the race to meet global consumer demand for novel vegetable products. On average, less than 2 per cent of products containing vegetables launched globally are released in Australia, according to AusVeg.

“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,” Mr Shue said. “Vegetables that don’t make the grade could be transformed into brand-new products rather than going to waste,” he said.

AusVeg said green bean ice-cream, instant pumpkin desserts, yoghurts and chips containing vegetable products and vegetable garden cream cheeses were 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,” Mr Shue said.

AusVeg to run vegetable product innovation forum

AusVeg said it would be running a Product Innovation Seminar for its vegetable levy payers in June 2014, dedicating the forum to vegetable product innovation.

“By exposing the Australian industry to research and development being conducted globally, we hope to excite businesses with innovative ideas about how Australian vegetables could be transformed and consumed,” said Mr 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,” said Mr Shue.

The Produce Innovation Seminar will hear from global leaders from the US and Europe in product innovation and sensory science, including David Lundahl, PhD, founder and CEO of InsightsNow Inc. and Rob Baan, CEO of Koppert Cress.

Project Harvest was funded by HAL using the National Vegetable Levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.