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March 13, 2024

4 Produce & Fresh Food Trends to Watch in 2024

From heirloom varieties to plant-based meats, 2024's top fresh food trends reflect consumer demand for health, novelty and convenience.

From the expansion of organic and non-GMO options to the drive for more locally sourced products, fresh food and produce aisles have evolved rapidly in recent years along with shifting consumer preferences and growing demand for healthier, more sustainable food choices. Don’t expect that rate of change to slow any time soon. Already this year, several new trends are shaking up grocery aisles. From the rediscovery of heirloom varieties to innovative new plant-based products, here are four fresh food and produce trends to keep an eye on in 2024.

1. Increased Interest in Heirloom and Exotic Varieties

As palates become more adventurous, interest has continued to grow in heirloom and exotic varieties of fruits and vegetables. Consumers are now seeking out unique and lesser-known produce like Romanesco broccoli, with its fractal patterns and nutty flavor, or the vibrant, sweet-tart dragon fruit. Purple carrots and watermelon radishes are also gaining popularity, offering unique flavors and a burst of color to dishes.

2. Buzzy New Apples

When it comes to apples in particular, novelty sells. Developed by Washington State University, newcomer Cosmic Crisp has rapidly ascended to become one of the top 10 best-selling apple varieties in the U.S., celebrated for its crisp texture and exceptional storability. Other new varieties such as Juici, Piñata, RubyFrost, and Opal are similarly gaining market share for their versatility and unique flavors, which range from sweet-tart to honey-vanilla.

3. Cleaner Plant-Based Meats

Recent innovations in plant-based meats have been astounding, with products now more closely mimicking the taste, texture and nutritional profile of real meat. Giants like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have paved the way in the sector, but new entrants are distinguishing themselves by focusing even more on clean labels. Products like those from Quorn, which uses the fungus-based fermentation ingredient Mycoprotein, offer meat substitutes with a shorter, more natural ingredient list. These cleaner, greener options will continue to grow in popularity in 2024, especially with younger shoppers.

4. On-The-Go Convenience

The trend of grab-and-go options in the fresh foods and produce section reflects a growing consumer demand for convenience without compromising health. Supermarkets and food retailers have continued to expand their offerings to include pre-cut fruits, vegetable snack packs, ready-made salads and cold-pressed juices. Looking ahead, experts expect to see an increase in plant-based grab-and-go options and personalized nutrition packs tailored to dietary preferences or health needs. To maximize sales of grab-and-go items, grocers need to ensure attractive displays that keep products forward-facing and organized.

As grocers navigate these evolving trends, the role of merchandising solutions becomes increasingly crucial. Retail Space Solutions offers grocers the tools they need to capitalize on consumer demands for variety and convenience. By embracing innovative display technologies and strategic product placement, retailers can enhance the shopping experience while increasing sales.

Discover more about these and other emerging trends shaping the grocery industry in 2024, and learn how innovative merchandising solutions can help retailers meet evolving consumer demands.