Size is Small and Flavor’s Big at Annual Fruit and Veg Show

appletsThe Produce Marketing Association‘s annual Fresh Summit — held this year in New Orleans, one of just seven U.S. cities capable of hosting the massive trade show — is a big deal in the agricultural world because it unites growers, shippers, distributors, retailers and nearly every other industry positioned to profit from the sale of apples, green peppers and pears. But for regular eaters, the event’s fascinating because it offers a glimpse of trends about to overtake the produce departments of their local grocery stores.

Having pounded the floor of the New Orleans Convention Center this past Saturday, I’d advise bracing for the following six healthy food fads:

1. Little is big

If the fruits and vegetables displayed at the show are any indication, plenty of strategy meetings over the past few years ended with produce growers demanding their research teams find ways to make their output smaller. Sunkist touted “kid-sized citrus”, Windset Farms pushed cocktail-sized cucumbers and fingerling potatoes were everywhere. Apparently preying on the average consumer’s fruit ignorance, apple growers even bagged normal-sized apples and labeled them as snack-friendly. But my favorite example of the trend came courtesy of Shanley Farms, which introduced single-serving avocados packed in an egg carton. Continue reading