Are you wondering what the produce trends are for 2015? As a food consultant, I start reviewing the predictions in late December and continue into most of January. Together with the reviews, I also complete my own forecasting. I’m pleased to report that 2015 is the year with more than a few produce trends! Let’s explore my top three produce trends for 2015: Souping; Ugly Vegetables; and Veggies Take Centre of the Plate.

Souping
Souping is said to be this year’s juicing—a quick, easy and healthy way to incorporate nutrient and vitamin-stuffed vegetables into your diet. Along with the trend for eating more greens, I am predicting there will be a rise in green soups. This is a perfect opportunity for Canadian Prairie Garden’s (CPG) puréed broccoli to play an important role in the ongoing explosion of green soups to cater to the growing consumer demand.

Companies in the USA have started to develop their own lines of soup cleanses. How effective they are, we don’t know. But I believe the souping concept is better than the juicing model, since you’re eating the entire vegetable, which means more vitamins, minerals, and fibre.

Ugly Vegetables
Retailers in the UK and Europe have started programs to reduce food waste by selling “ugly” produce. It’s a win-win for farmers and consumers, as farmers can sell more of their crop, and consumers get a smaller grocery bill. Consumers are increasingly aware that imperfect-looking produce still tastes great and contains all the nutrition of perfect produce. As we know, the not so perfect cauliflower being tossed away by the local farmer was one of the catalysts for Kelly Beaulieu starting the CPG Company.

Food trenders, including myself, are suggesting that ugly root vegetables, such as kohlrabi, celery root, and parsnips, will be replacing basic white potatoes in many dishes as people desire different flavours and textures. Did you know CPG’s puréed parsnips are a lower fat replacement for cream in pasta sauces and casseroles?

Veggies Take Centre of the Plate
I have seen this trend coming over the last few years, with taglines like “half your plate” popping up everywhere. In the many home kitchens, I’ve witnessed health-conscious cooks embrace the trend of spiralizing (cutting vegetables into strings). This transforms your favourite vegetables (even the ugly ones) into pasta-like strips. Cooked and covered with a hot sauce or marinated in a dressing, this technique puts veggies front and centre on the plate.

I’m expecting this is the year when many chefs and product developers will devote more attention to vegetables as the starring role of the meal. To confirm this, CPG has already observed an increase in their sweet potato purées being used in delicious raviolis, hearty pasta sauces, and savoury entrée pies. Most importantly, these purées are not just being used as sides or garnishes, but as main courses.

Final Thoughts
It’s safe to say that produce, specifically a variety of vegetables and culinary techniques, is trending in 2015. Finally, I ask you, which produce trend of 2015 is your favourite?

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Jane Dummer, RD (www.janedummer.com), known as the "Pod to Plate" Food Consultant, collaborates with the food and nutrition industry across North America.