United Fresh’s Seventh Trend Report

United Fresh has released its latest trend report, highlighting the ongoing influence of availability, sustainability, and affordability in New Zealand's food industry as the end of 2023 approaches. This trend report is particularly relevant for businesses in the food and beverage sector, as it sheds light on evolving consumer behaviours and market dynamics.

The latest food price index statistics reveal a nearly four percent decrease in fruit and vegetable prices in September. This price drop is partially attributed to favourable growing conditions, positively impacting supply volume. For businesses involved in the production and distribution of fresh produce, understanding the factors affecting price fluctuations is crucial for strategic planning.

In response to supply and demand dynamics, local food producers are increasingly exploring innovative approaches to enhance food production efficiency and sustainability. One notable avenue for this innovation is the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies. Businesses involved in food production can explore how AI can help optimise their operations and meet the growing demand for sustainable and efficient practices.

The first notable trend in this report is the anticipated popularity of Zespri RubyRed Kiwifruit, especially for consumers seeking new culinary experiences. This presents an opportunity for businesses in the fruit and produce industry to diversify their offerings and meet the evolving preferences of consumers. United Fresh said that the fruit was excellent for the classic cheeseboard, decorative toppings for your summer salad, or to make a homemade popsicle. 

 The second trend is the influence youth will have on food choices. When looking at trends, United Fresh suggested it was wise to look to the future. In this case, United Fresh said youth will become 2050’s largest consumer group, shaping overall consumer choice and preference.

The second trend focuses on the influence of youth on food choices. As today's youth become tomorrow's largest consumer group, businesses need to adapt to their preferences, which include a focus on health-conscious and sustainable food options. Companies in the food industry should consider the development of products that align with these values.

The third significant trend is the increasing integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in food production, which is reshaping the way tasks are performed. This trend has implications for agricultural and horticultural businesses, offering opportunities for increased production efficiency and sustainability.

The fourth trend, smashed peas, could be a potential innovation for restaurants and food producers to explore in the brunch scene. Understanding consumer interest in such trends can guide menu and product development for businesses in the food sector.

The fifth trend emphasises the rise of convenient functional foods, aligning with consumers' desire for well-being and time-saving options. Food and beverage businesses can respond to this trend by developing products that cater to these preferences.

Finally, the report highlighted a final trend of value-seeking consumers opting for supermarket brands. This shift in consumer behaviour is crucial for businesses to understand, as it affects branding and pricing strategies.