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Mike Neary, Director Meat & Horticulture, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board

The retail market for the prepared fruit & vegetable category was valued at €121m in 2018. This market category has been in growth in recent year’s which has very much been driven by the demand from consumers for produce which is more prepared, convenient and healthy. The category has seen the range of products available and formats grow as the market has increased in size. The value of the market grew by 2% last year compared with 2017. Volume growth was even more impressive at 7% for the same period which was tempered by a 4% reduction in the average unit price. The lower average price resulted in more buyers coming into the category and an increased volume purchased per buyer of 6%. Purchase frequency was up by 2.5% year on year.

The range of products within the prepared category include fruit, chilled salads, mixed tray salads, leafy salads and vegetable products. The most significant value markets include leafy salads with 32% of the value, chilled salads have 30% of the value and prepared vegetables are at 24% of the value. Prepared fruit was 12% of the value in 2018. The trend of increasing demand for these products is further evidenced from the household penetration rates for prepared salad and vegetable lines which have all grown in 2018 when compared with 2017 reaching penetration levels of between 70% and 80%.