Fruits and vegetables with high nutritional value have emerged as a staple diet in recent times. Processed fruits and vegetables maintain their own nutrition and arrest moisture loss, which has encouraged people to consume the same as opposed to unhealthy meals. Given their innumerable medical benefits, especially for mental health, processed fruits and vegetables have now secured a prominent position in the global food and nutrition industry.

They are rather convenient for most modern-day homes as they offer numerous advantages, especially in an era defined by sedentary lifestyles. The European continent has emerged as a major importer of processed fruits and vegetables, given the now shifting interest toward healthy lifestyles and convenience. As per the Center for the Promotion of Imports EU, European imports of processed fruits and vegetables represented 45% of the global imports in 2020, followed by Asia which held 27% of the demand, and North America with 17% of imports.

Processed Fruits and Vegetables Market to Expand “Organically”

The dynamic trend of “organic” consumption has supported the inclination of Gen-Z toward processed fruits and vegetables. Consider the following statistics:

  • Almost 70% of Americans believe that organic fruits and vegetables are healthier compared to conventionally grown crops.
  • According to the Organic Trade Association, the sales of organic products in the U.S. increased by 12.4% in 2020, exceeding the $60 billion mark.

One of the main reasons for increasing organic food consumption is the rising concern by consumers regarding animal welfare, health and the environment. In addition, the sheer willingness to invest in organic products has complemented the inflating graph of organic fruits and vegetables. Organic products consist of more protective antioxidants and are processed with relatively lower levels of toxic metals and less pesticide residue.

As per 2021 research led by scientists at the Environmental Working Group, it was revealed that processed organic foods are healthier than their conventional, chemical-intensive counterparts in important ways. They were relatively low in salt, added sugar and saturated fat. Besides, the consumption of organic food was also demonstrated to lower the risk of developing Type-II diabetes.

The surging growth in organic produce is likely to have a positive impact on the processed fruits and vegetables market landscape through the coming years.

Are Canned Fruits and Vegetables Nutritious? Addressing the Pros and Cons 

A novel category that has been gaining widespread attention in the processed fruits and vegetables industry is canned foods. From exotic fruits to seasonal vegetables and pickled fruits, everything can now be made available in a canned form to increase the product’s shelf life. Not to mention, canned foods are an ideal addition to an overall healthy diet for adults and children. People who eat more canned foods tend to increasingly consume fruits and vegetables and intake more nutrients compared to people who consume fewer canned foods. This can also be supported by various former studies by leading health organizations and agencies, including CDC.

A report from 2014 presented that canned fruits and vegetables can be part of a higher total fruit and vegetable intake and contribute toward a better and more nutritious overall diet.

Pros of canned fruits and vegetables 

While nutrition remains one of the primary advantages of canned fruits and vegetables, enlisted are some of the other benefits that allow consumers to opt for them:

  • Increased shelf-life and reduced loss: Since fruits and vegetables are tight-closed in containers preventing them from spoiling, this could reduce food loss and fewer carbon emissions.
  • Easy recyclability: Unlike plastic containers, cans can be easily recycled, thereby reducing landfill waste and being environmentally friendly.
  • Easy to carry: No food spillage and on-the-go convenience make canned food highly preferable amongst the working population and travelers.
  • Cost-effectiveness

Cons of canned fruits and vegetables

Canned food products are also being seen in a negative manner owing to some of their features that make them unhealthy for consumption. These include:

  • High in preservatives: Canned fruits and vegetables, to maintain a long shelf-life, are packed with a number of preservatives in them, some of which include BHA, nitrites, extra salt and sugar, and sulfites.
  • Presence of BPA: Some cans are lined with BPA, a chemical that may prove fatal for kids as well as produce adverse health impacts for adults.  
  • Botulism: Cans with leaks, cracks or distortions can be home to bacteria that cause botulism. It is an extremely rare condition that may lead to facial weakness, breathing difficulties and more.

While canned fruits and vegetables may have gained a doubtful reputation in the food sector, the COVID-19 pandemic revamped their image for good. One of the leading makers of canned fruits and vegetables, Del Monte, reported a 200% year-on-year spike in sales in the U.S. in March 2020. Such events are indicative of the expansion in the canned fruit and vegetables market size in the coming years.

What is Next for the Processed Fruits and Vegetables Industry?

The trends in the global processed fruits and vegetables industry are likely to be defined by the ongoing shift toward the consumption of nutrition-rich foods. In both developed and emerging countries, the demand for such food products is expected to depict an increase, strengthening the market outlook substantially over the span of 2021-2027. As per the latest report by Global Market Insights Inc., processed fruits and vegetables market size is slated to surge beyond $465 billion by the end of 2027.